An important type of travel during the Middle Ages was pilgrimage. Pilgrims would travel hundreds of miles to visit the shrines of saints in order to pay homage, pray, and to come in contact with a bit of holiness that had spilled out of Heaven through the saints.
If travel to the site of holiness was profligate, the travel of holiness to the layperson was inevitable. Medallions and amulets depicting saints and invoking the prayers of the saints proliferated during the Middle Ages as people sought to gain some advantage by worshipping the specific saint they attributed to some aspect of life.
Amulets and other tokens of the saints were not the only objects of holiness to be carried from place to place. Relics of the saints or of the True Cross were also transported across Europe. The need to respect these relics, however, led to the development of special reliquaries in order to properly store and carry the relics. In the same way, the Host of the Lord’s Supper deserves to be properly treated and venerated as it is the body of Christ. In a manner similar to the development of reliquaries, the pyx was conceived to bear the Eucharist.
In addition to the development of the pyx, the Middle Ages saw a proliferation of other ritual religious symbols--the bearing of a crosier and the use of censers exemplify this. This standardization cannot have occurred without the travel of religious information throughout Europe--Catholicism was a single religion and was worshipped similarly throughout the continent.
As you will see in this gallery, an entire infrastructure developed during the Middle Ages specifically devoted to the transportation of holiness. Whether it was through a secondary transfer of holiness, as in the case of the amulets, or the actual transportation of relics, the Middle Ages were a source of great travel for the holy and this travel helped shape Medieval society.