Valentines Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II - Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular military campaigns. Claudius the Cruel, as he was known at the time, was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome.
This was when a Christian priest named Valentine came to defend love in the empire. Valentine began to secretly marry couples despite the emperors orders. When Emperor Claudius was informed of these ceremonies Valentine was sent to prison where he remained until his death on February 14 in the year 270.
It wasn't until a few hundred years later when Valentine's Day began to develop as we know it. At the time Christianity was beginning to take control of Europe.
As part of this effort the Church sought to do away with pagan holidays. Valentine's Day came to replace a mid-February fertility festival called Lupercalia. In honor of his sacrifice for love Valentine was made a saint and Lupercalia renamed in his honor.
Until today the tradition of honoring Valentine continues. The themes of love and fertility taken from the ancient meanings of the holiday have endured and evolved with our contemporary adaptations of its meanings.
zhn2011zhn (rep: 937) posted Feb 06, 2012
It's St. Valentine's feast day. St. Valentine is one of the more obscure and early Saints, although one of the more popular ones. Much of his life is a mystery but, from what we know, he seems like a pretty cool Saint. Because of him we have a holiday dedicated to eating chocolate so that's pretty sweet :)
VirginiaPeanuts (rep: 11.7k) posted Feb 07, 2012
Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day, is observed on February 14 each year. Today Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.
The original "St. Valentine" was just a lithurgical celebration of one or more early Christian saint named Valentinus. All the modern romantic connotations were added several centuries later by poets. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to 14th February, and added to later martyrologies. This celebration was deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The flower crowned skull of St Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found in the Basilica of Santa Prassede, also in Rome, as well as at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him.
No romantic elements are present in the original early medieval biographies of either of these martyrs. By the time a Saint Valentine became linked to romance in the 14th century, distinctions between Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were utterly lost.
Saint Valentine's head was preserved in the abbey of New Minster, Winchester and venerated. But there is no evidence that Saint Valentine was a popular saint before Chaucer's poems in 14th century, not even in the area of Winchester. Saint Valentine's celebration didn't differ from the celebrations of many other saints, and no church was ever dedicated to him.
In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: "Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14." The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan (Malta) where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Second Vatican Council calendar. February 14 is also celebrated as St Valentine's Day in other Christian denominations; it has, for example, the rank of 'commemoration' in the calendar of the Church of England and other parts of the Anglican Communion.
Sophialove (rep: 59) posted Feb 19, 2012
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