Saint Valentine

From Academic Kids

Saint Valentine or Saint Valentinus refers to one of at least three martyred saints of Ancient Rome. The feast of Saint Valentine was formerly celebrated on February 14 by the Roman Catholic Church until 1969.

The feast of St. Valentine was first decreed in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who also included Saint George among those "...whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." The creation of the feast may have been an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia that was still being celebrated in 5th century Rome, on February 15.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the saint whose feast was celebrated on the day now known as Valentine's Day was possibly one of the three martyred men who lived in the late 3rd century during the reign of Emperor Claudius II:

It is believed that the priest and the bishop Valentinus are buried along the Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different lengths from the city. In the 12th century, the Roman city gate known in ancient times as the Porta Flaminia (now known as the Porta del Popolo) was known as the Gate of St. Valentine.

As Gelasius implied, nothing is known about the lives of any of these martyrs, however. Many of the current legends surrounding them were invented in the late Middle Ages in France and England, when the feast day of February 14 became associated with romantic love. No such sentiment appears in the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints and for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on the occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine, has him refusing to deny Christ before the "Emperor Claudius" in the year 280. Before his head was struck off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of "Valentine," "as containing valour", but there is nothing of hearts and last notes signed "from your Valentine," as is sometimes suggested in modern works of sentimental piety [1] (http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/golden169.htm).

Relics that were exhumed from the cemetery of Saint Hyppolytus on the Tibertine Way near Rome, were identified with St Valentine and placed in a golden casket and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, to which they were donated by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836. Many tourists visit the saint's remains on St. Valentine's Day, when the casket is carried in solemn procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love. Alleged bodily relics of St Valentine also lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure.

The saint's feast day was removed from the Church calendar in 1969 as part of a broader effort to remove saints of legendary origin. The feast day is still celebrated locally in some parishes.

see also: Valentine's Day, La Fete du Baiser

References

es:San Valentn id:Santo Valentinus it:San Valentino he:ולנטיין הקדוש nl:Valentinus (heilige) pl:Święty Walenty

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