What I Think We Know About Valentine
This is it! The final part of my Valentine’s Day Post. So far, we’ve learned a bit about where the original St. Valentines Day may have originated. We’ve learned the many stories and legends regarding the real St. Valentine. We also have pretty good archeological evidence about the location of the burial site. As you know by now, the facts are murky concerning the life, death, and even the burial of St. Valentine. So many things we’re still not sure of. But there’s a lot we know about St Valentine too!
The man that we originally honored as Saint was Valentine of Rome. He died in the year 269 A.D. He was a doctor as well as a Christian priest. The “Rome” distinction was made to differentiate him from other Valentines on the Roman Catholic Roster of Saints, who died on February 14th.
The Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine (of Rome) from their Calendar in 1969. They said the lack of reliable documentation caused too much confusion.
The Bishop of Terni was also canonized as St. Valentine. He died while in Rome in 273 A.D. at 97 years old.
The most recent saint is Valentine Berrio-Ochoa. Pope John Paul II canonized him in 1988. Berrio-Ochoa was a Spaniard of the Dominican Order. He traveled to Vietnam, and served as a bishop, and was beheaded in 1861.
We Know About Valentine Being the Saint of Many Things
St. Valentine seems to be a busy guy. His charges are epilepsy, fainting, traveling, lovers, happy marriages, engaged couples, and…….beekeepers too?
So, what have we got so far?
A beekeeping traveler who faints when people fall in love! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
Seriously though, I just don’t buy that one saint is responsible for all that.
We put a lot of faith in the belief saints continue their work in the afterlife. Believers, in fact, pray for them to intervene in their daily lives. If this is indeed true then St. Valentine has an exceptionally busy schedule.
Here’s my hypothesis:
I’m giving Valentine of Rome epilepsy, fainting, married couples, and half the love. Why? He was a doctor who was murdered because he helped and married persecuted Christians. As far as love goes well, I believe that is to be shared.
By the way, epilepsy wasn’t even identified until 1873. In my limited medical training, I remember epilepsy could be mistaken for fainting.
So, that leaves us with married couples, engaged couples, travelers, and beekeepers.
The Bishop of Terni gets travelers, both couples, and love too. How’d I figure that one? He traveled to Rome, tended engaged couples, and united lovers in marriage. I’m assuming there is some truth to those legends.
What about beekeepers? I had to check that one because I remembered it differently. So, I went to catholic.org and was surprised to find there are three patron saints for beekeeping. Since Valentine is already so busy, and St. Ambrose ( Dec. 7) seems only to be celebrated in his hometown of Milan, I’m giving it back to St. Abigail. Her day is February 7th, by the way.
We Know About St. Valentine’s Burial Site
Archeologists have documented finding evidence of a body, from what I have read. Apparently, they made two digs. Once in the 1500s and again in 1878. Although, I could only find details on the one in 1878.
The location was described as being at the 2nd mile on Via Flaminia. Heading north out of the Piazza del Popolo, after 2 miles you arrive, at the base of Parioli Hill. There also are the Catacombs of San Valentino.
The Archeologist documented that he found a basilica there at Parioli Hill. And a small church near the Piazza del Popolo, now renamed Porta del Popolo. Some still call it Piazza, although it is more round like an arena or amphitheater.
Piazza = square / Porta = door / del = of the / Popolo = people
We Know About St. Valentine Celebrations Throughout the World
It’s not too surprising to learn that St Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many other countries. Especially since Christians live all over the world too. Australia, Canada, Britain, South Korea, France, Mexico, and Argentina all celebrate St. Valentine’s Day. They even celebrate it in the Philippines. As a matter of fact, it’s the most common wedding anniversary date in the Philippines.
We Know About Valentine Celebration Opposers Too
Some religions are against celebrating St. Valentine’s Day. The Hindu and Islamic religions are examples that discourage celebration.
We know about Iran and a region in Russia, called Belgorod banning the holiday altogether. Then there are other countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia where you must celebrate in private.
We Even Know About Other Valentine’s Dates
There are many other St. Valentine celebrations throughout the year. Throughout the world too. You’d be pretty busy celebrating them all. Then again, who doesn’t want to celebrate love?
On January 7th you could celebrate St. Valentine a bishop from Raetia.
May 3rd is St. Valentine from Genoa’s day.
You can celebrate twice as the Eastern Orthodox Church does. Once on July 6th for St Valentine the Presbyter (Valentine from Rome) and then again on July 30th for Valentino, the Bishop of Terni.
There’s also a woman St. Valentine, Valentina, a virgin who was martyred on July 25, 308 A.D. in Palestine.
September 18th for Valentine Jaunzaras Gomez.
October 25th for a priest who was also a hermit.
November 3rd for a priest of Viterbo.
And finally, for Berrio-Ochoa on November 24th.
Now that’s a lot of celebrating!
One Man or Two?
As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I fairly confident that we pay homage to more than one St. Valentine on February 14th every year. I find it hard to believe that one Saint could really have so many responsibilities.
In my eyes, the Eastern Orthodox Church has it right. Two different men – two different dates.
Valentine of Rome
I think the Valentine of Rome, the priest, and doctor, was the one who cured the jailer’s daughter of blindness. And he either befriended or fell in love with her. I say he was the man who married Sabinus and Serapia too.
I believe the remains in the Catacombs of San Valentino were of St. Valentine of Rome. Why? Because he was from Rome. He would have been known. It makes sense his devout followers would transport his body to Parioli Hill. To the Catacombs of San Valentino somewhere close by.
Bishop of Terni
Here’s what I conclude about the bishop. I’m fairly confident that he was summoned to Rome and performed the miracle of straightening the boy’s spine.
I think the three Athenian students who converted after seeing the miracle took the Bishop’s body back to Umbria. They would have had to travel that way to go back home to Greece anyway. His body may have been stored in the catacombs for a short time while they purchased land. But his body did make it back home and was buried in Terni.
I believe multiple churches have been built over his grave. And because of looting and destruction, his body was removed to build the new basilica. Finally, I believe the Bishop is the body enclosed in the glass alter at the Basilica di San Valentino in Terni, Italy.
Regarding the two legends. The one about birds flying in circles and the two lovers and the rose. They could go either way.
As far as the basilica at Parioli Hill and little church near Piazza del Popolo are concerned? I think they were built in remembrance of both men.
Now can you understand why I call myself the logical writer?
I enjoy researching topics I find interesting. Digging into facts and stories. Taking all the tidbits of information I’ve gathered and piecing them together. Using common sense to come up with a logical answer. At least that’s what I hope I’ve done.
Maybe I’m right and maybe I’m wrong. Does it matter? In the end, nobody was hurt, and all Valentine’s were acknowledged.
Hope you enjoyed my St. Valentine’s Holiday post. I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
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