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Container for religious relics / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A reliquary (also referred to as a shrine, by the French term châsse, and historically including phylacteries[1]) is a container for relics. A portable reliquary may be called a fereter, and a chapel in which it is housed a feretory.

Reliquary Shrine, French, c. 1325–50, The Cloisters, New York
Inside the shrine of St. Boniface of Dokkum in the hermit-church of Warfhuizen in the Netherlands. The little folded paper on the left contains a bone-fragment of Saint Benedict of Nursia, the folded paper on the right a piece of the habit of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The large bone in the middle (about 5 cm in length) is the actual relic of St. Boniface.

Relics may be the purported or actual physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures. The authenticity of any given relic is often a matter of debate; for that reason, some churches require documentation of the relic's provenance.

Relics have long been important to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and to followers of many other religions.[2][3][4] In these cultures, reliquaries are often presented in shrines, churches, or temples to which the faithful make pilgrimages to gain blessings.

The term is sometimes used loosely for containers for the body parts of non-religious figures; in particular, the Kings of France often specified that their hearts and sometimes other organs be buried in a different location from their main burial.