Other Types Of Reliquaries

Philatory – If the business of worshipping reliquaries and various relics could be a bit more morbid, it is through the use of the philatory. A philatory is a type of reliquary designed specifically to exhibit a relic. It’s usually made of glass, or crystal, or some other clear but precious, transparent barrier, in order for its viewers to see the remains, clothing, or other bits of the saint, Christ, Buddha, or any other religious figure. The most morbid form of reliquary, is the ossuary, and you can find that article in our index.

Feretrum – basically a synonym for reliquary, or even shrine, though it is different because it emerged as a term, and as an object in the Medieval Era, and was usually much larger. It was also more often than not, hidden, because that was about the time when the worship of reliquaries became a very bad thing in Europe. Feretrums were often larger, while reliquaries could be tiny, –the size of a pendant, a ring, or a locket, –making them harder to hide. It is for this reason that so many smaller reliquaries exist, while the larger shrines and feretrums are designated to much fewer in quantity, and locations.

Monstrance – A particularly interesting little thing, that looks a little bit like a candlestick. A monstrance is a kind of reliquary, like the others, that houses either Christian, or other types of religious artifacts. This type of reliquary emerged in the later Middle Ages. It was composed of solid gold, and a wide base, a tall neck, and then at the top, it contained, –most popularly in a solar setting, –a relic that was embedded in or surround by a tiny crystal container. The most common of monstrances were those of a solar setting that house the sacrament in Christian churches.

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