Definition of reliquary in English:



  • A container for holy relics.

    • ‘Her largest work ever is the wooden relief aptly titled Prince of Peace - an enormous icon of Christ similar to the antique reliquaries found in many orthodox churches, except for its size.’
    • ‘A lot of people are under the impression that the reliquary will be something similar to that of St. Therese of Lisieux which visited the Shrine two years ago.’
    • ‘The reliquary will remain in Church Street until 7.30 pm tomorrow when it will be moved across the Liffey to Merchants Quay church where there will be short period for veneration.’
    • ‘In the main prayer hall we stood before a reliquary said to contain the head of Zachariah, father of John the Baptist.’
    • ‘Accomplished conceits were readily adapted to works of widely differing scale, from the monumental towers of churches to the carved tabernacles above statues or the miniature spires of gold reliquaries.’
    • ‘It is what many observers feel will be the most important religious event in this country since the Papal visit in 1979, with the Diocese of Ferns to have the honour of being the first to receive the reliquary.’
    • ‘The same must be true of late medieval and early modern metalwork, and the Saint Philip reliquary is just one of a number of significant reliquaries whose form was inspired by, but does not exactly reproduce, specific buildings.’
    • ‘As the importance of saints and their relics increased, reliquaries and image-bearing objects, such as small statues, began to be placed upon the altar.’
    • ‘The huge response of people in turning out to see the reliquary which contains some of the bones of St. Thérèse is heralded by many in the Catholic Church as a clear sign of a resurgence in spirituality and faith.’
    • ‘In another essay, he described his experience at a Buddhist monastery that housed a reliquary said to contain a bone of the Buddha.’
    • ‘The tour of the reliquary of St Therese of Lisieux began in April, 2001, and reopened aspects of a debate simmering since 1979.’
    • ‘The two reliquaries are described as containing the relics of the little-known Saint Felician, the third-century bishop of Foligno who was particularly venerated in Umbria, Italy.’
    • ‘Between 1422 and 1425 a new reliquary was made for Saint Philip's arm.’
    • ‘This informal presentation enhanced the sense that one was being invited to uncover personal secrets, or to peer inside a reliquary.’
    • ‘He displayed it in a reliquary at a liturgical station at the hospital of S. Spirito, to commemorate the Feast of the Wedding at Cana.’
    • ‘The gold buckle does not feel like a real dress item, and may have been a reliquary, its hollow box once containing a sacred fragment of bone or textile.’
    • ‘The exhibition highlights aspects of Roman Catholic religious traditions and includes relics and reliquaries, religious artefacts, and an insight into the practices of the Sisters of Mercy.’
    • ‘At Louvain, the three ornate facades are sculptural in a conventional sense, completely encrusted with baldachins and statues, the surfaces richly worked like a monumental reliquary.’
    • ‘Thus, when the reliquary was exhibited from the outdoor pulpit on feast days sacred to the Virgin Mary, a strong visual bond between the reliquary and the church in which it was kept could be discerned.’
    • ‘One continued along a sequence of glass-fronted niches, like the compartments of a reliquary or the card-by-card disclosure of a Tarot hand.’


Mid 16th century: from French reliquaire, from Old French relique (see relic).