Religion Past and Present

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(885 words)

[German Version]

A reliquary is a repository, usually artistically wrought, for relics (Lat. reliquiae, “remains”). Reliquaries contain and represent primary relics, i.e. bodily remains of saints (Saints/Veneration of the saints) or beatified persons (bones, teeth, nails, or hair); they may also contain secondary or “contact” relics, i.e. objects that were closely linked to the venerated persons during their lifetime (clothes, writing implements, instruments of torture) or had direct contact with the primary relics.

As early as the 4th/5th century, the church father …

Cite this page
Bock, Ulrich, “Reliquary”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 25 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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