Relics and Reliquaries
Holy relics — often bits of bones or possessions of saints — were the “ruby slippers” of medieval Europe and they were contained in dazzling jeweled vessels. Called reliquaries, these were often masterpieces of art.
Complete Video Script
 Dazzling jeweled vessels, called "reliquaries," were often masterpieces of art designed to protect relics. A relic is some physical reminder of Christ or a saint, like their bones or possessions…the finger of St. Theresa…the jaw of St. Anthony…perhaps a skull of a saint, complete with jewels and silver…or better yet, a full, regally dressed skeleton.
[102, Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi] Holy relics were the "ruby slippers" of medieval Europe. To the faithful, relics had power — they helped answer prayers, win wars — and ultimately, they helped you get to Heaven.
 That's why pilgrims traveled far and wide to venerate relics, making the High Middle Ages a golden age of travel. In Venice, they came for the supposed bones of St. Mark. In Padova, the vocal chords of St. Anthony. An especially sought-after relic was a supposed piece of the original cross, like this one — with an actual nail hole — carried in a jewel-encrusted case by the emperors. In Paris, this entire church — so famed for its windows today — functioned as a reliquary itself, purpose-built to house the supposed Crown of Thorns in all its glory.
 To this day, pilgrims pray at these relics. If a request for a miracle is answered, they might leave a votive — that's a token of gratitude for the saint's divine intervention.