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(rĕl'əkwĕr`ē), receptacle containing the relics of saints and other sacred objects of the Christian religion. Reliquaries were often designed in shapes that reflected the nature of their contents, such as hands, shoes, buildings, and heads. They were richly decorated with gold, silver, enamel, and jewels.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a repository for relics, characteristic mainly of the Christian cult.

Reliquaries, known since the third century, were especially widespread in Western Europe and to a lesser degree in Byzantium and ancient Rus’. They could be of the most varying forms, from tiny coffers to large shrines. Reliquaries were made of precious metals, ivory, or wood, and were executed by casting or carving. They were decorated with precious stones, pictures, and ornaments.


Braun, J. Die Reliquiare des christlichen Kultes und ihre Entwicklung. Freiburg im Breisgau, 1940.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a receptacle or repository for relics, esp relics of saints
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Speaking to CNA after the ceremony, Archimandrite Fotios expressed his satisfaction over the fact that the reliquary returns at last to its rightful owner.
The Boston reliquary is not only a perfect example of Angelico's art, but also one that has survived in almost pristine condition.
The reliquary provides the inspiration for the RoliingStar LEAD stripe feature, which uses micro-mirrors technology already proved in RoliingStar thread, but with more 'real estate' to demonstrate the technology to its full advantage.
The sailors delivered the relic to the knights, who put it in the reliquary. What the thief, and the knights, would've thought of the reliquary coming to Cleveland is up for grabs.
These exhibits include two sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha, stone reliquary in stupa shape and a golden Casket.
The reliquary held in the Treasury and revered by the Christian world is not the Crown of Thorns that was brutally thrust on Jesus Christ's head for his crucifixion.
In Archer's grave, researchers found what seems to be a Catholic reliquary, a container for holy relics, which suggests that Archer or those who buried him may have been secret Catholics in an Anglican colony.
Critique: A riveting good mystery by a superbly talented novelist with an impressive mastery of the mystery/suspense genre, "A Newly Crimsoned Reliquary" by Donna Fletcher Crow is a gripping and entertaining literary experience that will not soon be forgotten by its enthusiastic readers.
Russian traveler Fyodor Konyukhov next year plans to search for an ancient monastery, where, according to a legend, the reliquary of St.
A reliquary is a shrine that houses one or more religious relics.
Police were sweeping the area yesterday in case the holy fluid, which was held in an ornate reliquary, had been hidden.
Thieves snatched the reliquary and a crucifix after breaking into the church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend.