The (supposed) remains of saints were highly prized in the early and medieval Christian Church. It was often believed they possessed special spiritual powers. Such relics – which could be mere bone fragments or the vestiges of objects associated with a saint – were enshrined in bejeweled cases, or “reliquaries.”
The veneration of sacred relics continues into our own era; when Notre Dame Paris was burning, the priests were especially concerned about the rescue of its relics, which include the Crown of Thorns.
Among the more famous – and popular – relics were Splinters of the True Cross, now scattered across all of Christendom.