Happy Valentine’s Day: Who Was St. Valentine?

hvdGood morning and Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all. I got to wondering yesterday as I was picking out a card for my hubby, why did they call today Valentine’s Day? That link will take you to Wikipedia for answers and some really cool images of early Valentine’s and Valentine poetry. Imagine the idea of a Valentine’s Day card and a love poem go back to the 1400, with cards and verses mass-printed in 1797. So much for the argument it was started by the greeting card companies.

After reading some of the Wikipedia information, I got to thinking about Saint Valentine.  Although I no longer worship with that denomination, I was raised Roman Catholic and worked almost 30 years for that school board. I know people don’t become saints for writing poetry, no matter how romantic, so I broadened my research.

stvalAccording to Catholic Online, there are several different stories dealing with Valentine.

The origin of St. Valentine, and how many St. Valentines there were, remains a mystery. One opinion is that he was a Roman martyred for refusing to give up his Christian faith. Other historians hold that St. Valentine was a temple priest jailed for defiance during the reign of Claudius. Whoever he was, Valentine really existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.

The most popular theory is that Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St. Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterwards, to be beheaded, which was executed on February 14, about the year 270. Pope Julius I is said to have built a church near Ponte Mole to his memory, which for a long time gave name to the gate now called Porta del Popolo, formerly, Porta Valetini. The greatest part of his relics are now in the church of St. Praxedes. His name is celebrated as that of an illustrious martyr in the sacramentary of St. Gregory, the Roman Missal of Thomasius, in the calendar of F. Fronto and that of Allatius, in Bede, Usuard, Ado, Notker and all other martyrologies on this day. To abolish the heathens lewd superstitious custom of boys drawing the names of girls, in honor of their goddess Februata Juno, on the fifteenth of this month, several zealous pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given on this day.

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. Alongside a woodcut portrait of him, text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome, Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner — until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor — whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn’t do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.

Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they’re expected to keep busy: to perform miracles, to intercede. Being in jail or dead is no excuse for non-performance of the supernatural. One legend says, while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. Another legend says, on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “From your Valentine.”

heart St. Valentine is the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses. That’s quite the list!

Food of LoveIn honor of the day, Solstice Publishing has released and anthology of short stories called The Food of Love. My story is called “There’s Always Tomorrow” and features spicy pumpkin soup.

The Food of Love, is an anthology released by Solstice Publishing just in time for Valentine’s Day. Food entices the senses just as love entices the soul. We take chances, we share new beginnings, in hopes of making that special someone part of our lives, now and forever. Solstice Publishing presents ten tales of love, each with a recipe our authors consider part of their love story. We hope they can be part of yours too.

The contributing authors are:

Mya O’MalleyRocky RochfordSusanne MatthewsRachael StapletonElle MarlowVanayssa SomersMargaret EgrotCynthia LeyRebecca L. Frencl, and K.C. Sprayberry.

In addition to offering this book which can be purchased either as an ebook or paperback, They are giving you a chance to win a Kindle with a sampling of some of the novels they’ve published to date. Check that out here.

Trailer  for books being raffled

Rafflecopter You chance to enter the contest.

Well, now you know. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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About mhsusannematthews

Finally retired after more than 30 years as a teacher! Now, I get to spend my time gardening, enjoying my grandchildren, and writing. I finally completed the number one item in my bucket list and Crimson Romance published my first novel, Fire Angel, in April 2013. Since then I have sold 24 other manuscripts to date and don't plan to quit writing for a long time yet.
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2 Responses to Happy Valentine’s Day: Who Was St. Valentine?

  1. Kai Tyler says:

    An anthology related with food? Yummy. Will check it out. Congrats, Susanne.

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