Artist Statement: The word reliquary comes from the French word reliquaire, meaning “a receptacle, such as a shrine, for keeping and displaying sacred relics.” Reliquaries became an important part of Christian practices in Europe beginning in the third century. They could be made from metal or carved wood, often based on an architectural design, such as a Gothic church window like this one. They held precious stones, pictures, crucifixes, and religious relics.
Other than the cross, no Christian symbol has deeper and more meaning than that of the nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus. One such meaning is derived from John 20:25 where we read, But one of the twelve, Thomas, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples kept on telling him, “We have seen the Lord”, but he replied, “Unless I see in his own hands the mark of the nails, and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe!” Thomas knew that Christ was fastened to the cross with nails, and that his side was pierced with a spear, and unless he puts his finger into the print of the nails and the wound made by the spear, he is resolved not to believe. It may be observed, that as Thomas would not believe without seeing, so many today will not believe, unless they find similar marks in themselves. The marks of pain and suffering are often the instruments God uses to bring about true transformation in our own lives.