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The small cavity in an altar stone in which are placed the relics of a saint. According to the Church's provisions since the Second Vatican Council, "The custom of putting relics of saints, whether martyrs or not, into or beneath consecrated altars, is to be commended. But it is important to verify the authenticity of the relics" (Ordo Missae, V, 266). (Etym. Latin sepulcrum, tomb, from sepelire, to bury.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.