Saints had a close relationship with Jesus Christ throughout their lives, and that link grew closer after their welcome amongst the Holy Company of Heaven. So it is natural that Christians have wanted to associate themselves with the bodily remains of the saints. Hic locus est, we cry.

Close association can be carried to extremes at St Menoux (1) in the Bourbonnais. Here behind the High Altar is the shrine of St Menou (sic), a Bishop of Quimper who died here whilst returning from Rome; it has a hole into which, traditionally, the simple-minded could insert their heads while praying for healing.

The choir of the church of St Hilaire (2) in Poitiers is raised above the level of the nave, and its western wall shelters a reliquary of St Hilary, the Athanasius of the Western Church. When they consecrated the great Romanesque Abbey of Fleury (Saint-B e n o î tsur-Loire) in 1108, the reliquary of St Benoit (3) was placed in the central pier of the crypt below the High Altar.More prominently, the reliquary of St Edmund (4) of Abingdon is enshrined above the High Altar of the great Burgundian Abbey of Pontigny. At St Bertrand de Comminges (5), Pope Clement V placed Bertrand’s relics in the Cathedral in January 1309. They were transferred to the present shrine behind the High Altar in 1476.