This study for the first time provides a comprehensive analysis of early Christian reliquaries in the context of their meaning and various uses. Taking into account all documented provenances and written sources on the cult of relics, basic conditions of production of reliquaries, the individual user groups, and their influence on the design of the vessels are shown. Special focus is given to the question of the relationship between form and function of the relics. The study touches on foundations of many disciplines that deal with the early Christian cult of relics (art history, Christian archeology, history, theology, religious studies, etc.).