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Feast Day: February 14
Patron Saint of Love and Friendship, Happy Marriages, Engaged Couples, Bee Keepers, Young People, Travelers, Terni, Italy
Three different St. Valentines can be found in early Christian writings, all sharing the feast day of February 14. Not surprisingly, facts are few, but it appears that one Valentine was a Roman priest and/or physician. He was eventually martyred during the persecution of Claudius the Goth in 270 AD
and was buried, along with many others, on the Flaminian Way. A century later, a church was built at the site. As the first stop for pilgrimages to Rome, it became well known throughout Europe, along with Valentine. In the 13th century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome.
Three different St. Valentines can be found in early Christian writings, all sharing the feast day of February 14.
Another St. Valentine was the first Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). He apparently died during the persecutions ordered by the emperor Aurelius. In 1644 he was proclaimed both Patron Saint of Terni, and of lovers.
Even less is known about the third St. Valentine, other than that he was martyred in Africa, along with several companions.
The connection with love is equally misty. According to one legend, Valentine, while imprisoned, sent messages to friends saying “Remember your Valentine” and “I love you.” In another story, it is said that Valentine secretly performed Christian marriages, defying the Emperor Claudius.
As is the case with many Christian holidays, the feast day is connected to a pagan tradition. Lupercalia was the Roman festival of fertility, celebrated in mid-February. Around 498 A.D. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day and outlawed Lupercalia celebrations.
Whatever its origins, St. Valentine’s Day has long been regarded as the day to celebrate love. In medieval Great Britain and France, it was believed that during “Saint Valentine’s Tide” birds began to choose their mates, which gave rise to the custom of arranging betrothals at that time.
By the middle of the 18th century, both friends and lovers were exchanging hand-written notes or small tokens of affection. By Victorian times, commercially printed cards became extremely popular (perhaps because more direct expression of emotions was discouraged). Today, many industries owe a debt to St. Valentine, including greeting-card, printing, floral, candy, postal- and food-service.
See why our St. Valentine has the face of Frederick Douglass -pb
Recently, in America, Frederick Douglass has come to be associated with Valentine’s Day. Born a slave in the month of February, he was lovingly referred to by his mother as her “Little Valentine.” His actual birth date was never recorded, so he adopted February 14th as his official birthday. As a great man who defied the limited expectations of his day, Douglass rose from bondage to become world-famous as an abolitionist, a women’s rights activist, a spellbinding orator, and a champion of social justice for all people.
A Month of Valentines
(from Patricia’s personal collection)
See PatriArts Gallery to view our St. Valentine Colletion
|Interesting Videos from the History Channel
An in-depth History of Valentine’s Day from the History Channel, including videos.
Valentine and Terni, Italy history & information
About St. Valentine from the Catholic Encyclopedia
Greek Alphabet gives the Greek letters, their names, equivalent English letters, and tips for pronunciation (because I’ve used them in the scroll that comes with my St. Valentine piece).
Carrier Pigeons and how they are used as messengers
| Not so long ago, a mink coat, fox stole, or other fur piece might have been considered a wonderful Valentine’s gift...
but times and consciences have changed...
and if you have one of those pieces that you’d like to see put to good use, please consider donating it to Coats for Cubs where it will aid and comfort wildlife.