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Remember St. Valentine’s Day Is Wednesday February 14th

St. Valentine – The Patron Saint of Lovers

Only a foolish lover will forget that in two day’s time (Wednesday February 14th), the love of your life will expect at lest a card inscribed with red hearts; or a bouquet of red roses; or a box of chocolate; or expensive lingerie; or a romantic dinner for two, combined with promises of undying love; to make an appearance sometime on St. Valentine’s day. But who was this saint whom we associate annually with human love and sexuality, (not to mention the extra expense imposed on us males so soon after Christmas) ?

St. Valentine
St. Valentine was a Christian Priest in Rome during the short reign of emperor Claudius II (Marcus Aurelius Flavius Claudius Gothicus – 268 AD to 270 AD), latter who persecuted the Christian church during his reign.

Human remains of St Valentine are to be found at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, No.56 Aungier St, Dublin 2.

Emperor Claudius Gothicus II declared an edict that prohibited the marriage of young men in the army. Claudius in the past had gained both position and respect from soldiers for being physically strong and especially cruel, with legend telling of him having knocked the teeth out of a horse with one single punch. This edict now came into being based on his theory that soldiers, if unmarried, fought harder than those that were married, after all would not married soldiers live in constant fear of what would become of existing wives and children after their own death in battle.

The result of this edict saw a rise in overall permissiveness with polygamy (the custom of men mating with more than one mistress at any one time, whom they did not commit to marrying), being the popular order of the day. Now with some men attracted to the Christian faith; the church was teaching that marriage was sacred between one man and one woman and for life.

St. Valentine now began to secretly marry these followers of Jesus Christ, thus contravening the emperor’s edict. He was eventually caught and imprisoned for his actions and for helping other persecuted Christians.

Under house arrest with a judge called Asterius, whose daughter was blind; the magistrate interrogated St. Valentine on issues concerning his faith, religion and that Jewish preacher, known as Jesus of Nazareth. He asked St. Valentine to put his great faith to the test, by healing his daughter’s blindness. Valentine placed his hands over her eyes and she was miraculously healed. Humbled now by this action, Asterius immediately destroyed all the graven images in his home and became baptised, together with his family and some reported 44 members of his personal household, before freeing all held Christian prisoners.

However, this action did nothing to protect St. Valentine from his reigning emperor and in the year 269 AD he was sentenced to a three-part execution, which consisted of a beating, a stoning, and finally decapitation, because of his stance with regard to Christian marriage.

It is said that the last words written by him were in a note to the now healed blind daughter of Asterius, the signature on which today continues to inspire the commonly used, romantic communiqué, “from your Valentine”.

From an Irish perspective, in the sixteenth century, the human remains of St. Valentine were gifted to an Irish Carmelite priest, Father Spratt here in Ireland by Pope Gregory. This gifted relic is in the form of a sealed casket and was sent, accompanied by a letter of certification. The letter states that the casket, which today is located at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church, No.56 Aungier St, Dublin 2, contains the remains of St. Valentine of Rome.

To this day the casket has never been opened.

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