Wednesday, February 14, 2007

St. Valentine's Day

Most readers of this blog have had to endure my rant on the fact the "St." part was dropped from St. Valentine's Day. Ironically, the only time you hear the "St." bit is when someone is talking about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

So, because I'm all about the edifying, here is the scoop on St. Valentine:

Valentine was a priest in Terni, and he was installed as a bishop in Rome. By training he was a physician. Sometimes he is found in the various books and texts as St. Valentine of Terni and other times as St. Valentine of Rome. (Sometimes people get confused with St. Valentinian of Africa, but he was a different martyr.)

One day he was tending his garden when a Centurion named Sabino and a Christian woman named Serapia approached him--he had a general reputation of being kind, and wise and all that--because they were in love but:
a) Christianity was being persecuted and
b) Li'l Miss Christian wouldn't consent to marriage unless Sabino converted, dangerous as that was, especially given his rank and position in the army.

He made them a present of a bouquet of roses (or maybe one rose, accounts differ) which would remain in bloom until one or the other had changed his (or her) mind.

It was Sabino who relented and Valentine married them in secret. The marriage turned out so so happy that many other similar couples followed their example, to such a point that the Church was induced to dedicate one day of the year to a general benediction of the state of matrimony. But Emperor Claudius and his gang weren't so keen on their centurions, legionnaires, soldiers and senators, etc. going off and marrying Christians and converting. After all, Emperor Aurelius had just ordered Christians were to be persecuted and fed to the lions and all that and this stuff, frankly, made them look bad. They found out who was responsible and, catching him in the act of performing a wedding, seized him. They probably beat him up along the process, what with Romans being Romans.

Anyway, the next day he was dragged before the prefect thrown in the dungeon. While he was there he cured the dungeonkeeper's (a guy named Asterius) daughter Julia of blindness. The entire family converted and he secretly baptized them. When the prefect, Placidus Furius (ni-i-i-i-ice, huh?) heard of this miracle and the subsequent conversion of one of the more prominent families in Roman dungeonkeeping circles, he was livid. He sent orders that Valentine was to be beaten with staves in public and then beheaded.

On 14 February, 273 A.D., he was beaten for the prescribed 3 hours and then beheaded in Rome. The morning of the execution, he is said to have sent the dungeonkeeper's family a farewell message signed, "From your Valentine." His body was thrown outside the city walls and buried in the catacombs along the Flaminian Way; his relics were later transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes, although some relics are found in Ireland, Scotland and Malta, to name a few spots.

In 1644 he was proclaimed Patron Saint of Terni (in Umbria, Italy) and also patron saint of lovers. The Basilica of St. Valentine in Terni was built in 1605 on the ruins of Roman temples, and contains works of art of some interest, particularly in the crypt.

He is the patron of stuff you'd expect, such as affianced couples, betrothed couples, engaged couples, happy marriages, love and lovers; as well my favorite: greeting card manufacturers. However he is also the patron of travelers, young people and for reasons which have yet to be adequately explored, bee keepers. His intercession is invoked against fainting, epilepsy, and the plague. (All of which are element which will be vaguely familiar to happily married couples.)

And now you know.

-J.

Posted by Joke at 8:06 AM

16 Comments

  • Blogger Poppy Buxom posted at 12:44 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Come on, girlfriends. Don't be shy. Leave a comment.

    Honestly! St. Valentine was martyred for you--and you sit there, mindlessly stuffing yourself with chocolates.
  • Blogger Badger posted at 2:06 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Ah, Catholicism. Such a cheerful religion, what with all the beatings and beheadings and whatnot. I am feeling all warm and fuzzy now.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 2:57 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Y'realize it was the Romans, not the Roman Catholics who did all the beheadin', beatin', scourgin' and crucifyin'.

    -J.
  • Blogger Badger posted at 5:43 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Yeah, I know. But y'all have some fairly blood-drenched holidays, is all I'm saying.

    I'm not judging or anything. Heck, my people beheaded folks left and right. While naked, and painted blue. And then they wrote angsty poetry about it.
  • Blogger MsCellania posted at 6:47 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Well, that's a warm and fuzzy story I can read aloud to the 1st grade classroom next year - you know, while they're playing their sweet little games. Let's put the blood back in St. Valentine's Day! Now we know what it's dripping in red!
    I think the saints are the best part of catholicism; that and the holy cards.
  • Blogger Stomper Girl posted at 7:06 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Saints' stories are so brutal. But I love the way you tell it. You could be redo the Book of Saints.

    Hope TFBYM enjoyed her St. Valentine's Day treats.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 7:25 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Relatively few Saint biographies are along these lines:

    "____ minded his own business, and the Romans left him alone to harvest pumpkins. He gave extra pumpkins to the needy, and was canonized after dying after eating a bad clam."

    -J.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 7:28 PM, February 14, 2007  
    P.S. Beekeepers, don't be shy either!
  • Blogger BabelBabe posted at 8:34 PM, February 14, 2007  
    Blogger keeps eating my comments.

    Badger, exactly what the FUCK are you talking about?

    I plan to celebrate VDay by beating H with a hockey stick and then pushing him under a bus. How's that for historical accuracy?

    and Joke, I think SG is right on the money, you need to redo the Book of Martyrs. In a hundred years, everyone will be all, "Foxe? Who's Foxe? This Joke dude is where it's at!" Just wait snd see.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 8:40 PM, February 14, 2007  
    I think Bagder is saying her relatives are Druids and pray at trees. Unless they are Reform Druids, in which case they may also pray at shrubs, bushes and other foliage.

    I suggest you find a more efficient way to reach your intended goal, BabBab. Wouldn't it be a lot more elegant to throw him under a hockey team's bus, thereby eliminating a cumbersome step.

    -Mr. Helpful.
  • Blogger Badger posted at 9:16 PM, February 14, 2007  
    That's it exactly: my ancestors are the Knights of Ni.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 9:19 PM, February 14, 2007  
    I know all this because my forebears are from the Celtic end of Spain.

    -J.
  • Blogger Joke posted at 11:21 AM, February 15, 2007  
    Is it just me or is Blogger eating comments?

    -J.
  • Blogger jujube posted at 11:23 AM, February 15, 2007  
    I lit candles at the church in Dublin where the ostensible body of St. Valentine is kept.
  • Blogger julia posted at 10:59 PM, February 18, 2007  
    I thought I'd left a comment here, but maybe I didn't.....
  • Blogger Joke posted at 11:06 PM, February 18, 2007  
    Blogger has been eating comments, in the hopes that I'd switch to v. 2, which I have been forced to do.

    I hope that fixes it.

    -J.
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