Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saint Valentine

  Saint Valentine's Day is about as mysterious as love itself. The facts concerning the holiday has been questioned by both scholars and religious historians.

  At the heart of the matter is actual identity of St. Valentine himself. For in the time of ancient Rome, there were 14 martyred saints with the name, Valentine. But which one was he? Of the Saint Valentine whose feast day is February 14, all that is known is his name, that he was buried on the Via Flaminia* north of Rome on February 14 and that he was born on April 16. And really it is not even certain that February 14 feast day is for one St. Valentine or two. It is for this reason this liturgical commemoration* was not kept in the  Catholic Church 's Calender of Saints. But "Martyr Valentinus the Presbyter* and those with him in Rome" remain on a list proposed for veneration by all Catholics.

  In the Eastern Orthodox Church, St. Valentine the Presbyter is celebrated on July 6 and Hieromatyr* Saint Valentine ( Bishop of Interramna, Terni, Turkey) is celebrated on July 30. And Greek Orthodox Church members whose name is Valentina (female) or Valentinos (male) celebrate their nanes on February 14.
  Now since there are so many different Valentines, the Catholic Church's Roman Martyrology only mentions one St. Valentine for February 14.

  And according to the Church he was the Bishop of Terni, a city in southern Umbria, in what is now central Italy. While under house arrest of judge Asterius,and talking about his faith with judge Asterius, Valentinus (Roman pronunciation), was discussing the validity of Jesus. The judge put Valentinus to a test and brought to him the judge's adopted blind daughter. If Valentinus could restore the girl's sight the judge would do anything he asked. Valentinus layed his hands on the blind girl's eyes and her vision was restored. The judge was immediately humbled and asked Valentinus what he wanted. His reply was to have all the idols in the judge's house destroyed, the judge should fast for three days and then be baptized. The judge obeyed and as a result, released all the Christian inmates under his authority. Unfortunately, Valentius was once again arrested for continuing to serve Jesus and was sent to the prefect of Rome, Emperor Claudius, himself. Now Claudius did take a liking to Valentinus until he tried to convert Claudius, whereupon Claudius refused and condemmed Valentinus to death. Valentinus was commanded to either renounce his faith or face death by being beaten with clubs and being beheaded. Valentinus refused and Claudius had him executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269.

St. Valentine Receives a Rosary From the Virgin by David Teniers III

 * Via Flaminia - Ancient Roman Road leading from Rome over the Apennine Mountains to Rimini, on the Adriatic Sea.

* liturgical commemoration - The recital of a part of the Office or Mass assigned to a certain feast or day when the whole can not be said. 

Presbyter - In the New Testament it is meant as a leader of a local Christian congregation. In moderen times, it's synonymous with priest, elder, minister or pastor.

* Hieromartyr - In Eastern Orthodox a martyr who is also a member of the clergy ( priest, deacon or bishop).

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