A container for relics, i.e., typically for the bodily remains (perhaps a fragment) of a saint after his death, as well as for objects that the saint may have worn or used. Reliquaries were also used for alleged pieces of the True Cross (q.v.). Such containers could be placed under altars, hidden from view, or could be elaborate gem-studded receptacles meant for viewing. An enkolpion (Greek for "on the chest"), which was worn around the neck, was a type of jewelry that could contain a fragmentary relic (amulet or inscription) to protect the wearer.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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  • Reliquary — Rel i*qua*ry (r?l ? kw? r?), n.; pl. { ries} ( r[i^]z). [LL. reliquiarium, reliquiare: cf. F. reliquaire. See {Relic}.] A depositary, often a small box or casket, in which relics are kept. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • reliquary — receptacle for keeping relics, 1650s, from Fr. reliquaire (14c.), from O.Fr. relique (see RELIC (Cf. relic)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • reliquary — ► NOUN (pl. reliquaries) ▪ a container for holy relics …   English terms dictionary

  • reliquary — [rel′ə kwer΄ē] n. pl. reliquaries [Fr reliquaire < L reliquiae: see RELIC] Eccles. a case or other container in which relics are kept and displayed for veneration …   English World dictionary

  • Reliquary — A reliquary (also referred to as a shrine or by the French term chasse ) is a container for relics. These may be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures.… …   Wikipedia

  • Reliquary — Small box or chest in which a saint s *relics were kept. As a saint s renown grew, so the reliquary played its part as the focus of pilgrimages. The *Bayeux Tapestry shows (the later King) Harold taking an oath to accept William, duke of Normandy …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • reliquary — [[t]re̱lɪkwəri, AM kweri[/t]] reliquaries N COUNT A reliquary is a container where religious objects connected with a saint are kept …   English dictionary

  • reliquary —    A container or receptacle, such as a coffer or shrine, used to keep or display sacred relics, and usually made of a richly decorated, precious material. Reliquaries have been produced by numerous cultures. In the Christian tradition, they were …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • reliquary — noun (plural quaries) Etymology: French reliquaire, from Medieval Latin reliquiarium, from reliquia relic more at relic Date: 1652 a container or shrine in which sacred relics are kept …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • reliquary — /rel i kwer ee/, n., pl. reliquaries. a repository or receptacle for relics. [1650 60; < MF reliquaire < ML reliquiarium, equiv. to L reliqui(ae) remains (see RELIC) + arium ARY] * * * …   Universalium

  • reliquary — noun A container to hold or display religious relics …   Wiktionary

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