A reliquary (also referred to as a shrine, by the French term châsse, and historically including phylacteries) is a container for relics. A portable reliquary may be called a fereter, and a chapel in which it is housed a feretory.
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; it is 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. In these cultures, reliquaries are often presented in shrines, churches, or temples to which the faithful make pilgrimages in order to gain blessings.
The term is sometimes used loosely of 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.