LivingTravelValentine, an Irish saint?

Valentine, an Irish saint?

Saint Valentine, patron saint of lovers, is an Irish saint … at least by adoption. He is not as important as Saint Patrick, but he is as much an international spinner as the great father of Irish Christianity himself. And it’s definitely not as Irish as Saint Brigid, whose party is a fortnight earlier.

But his remains can be venerated in Dublin’s Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church. Where a special mass for lovers is also celebrated every February 14. Maybe the place to be when you spend Valentine’s Day in Dublin with your loved one. And without a doubt one of the most romantic places in Ireland.

Who was valentine?

Valentine, or in Latin Valentinus, is actually the name of several martyrs. On Valentine’s Day that we celebrate on February 14, he lived in ancient Rome and, after being martyred, he was buried on Via Flaminia. It’s about the whole story, and the date was so dubious, as were the stories surrounding Valentine, that the commemoration was not kept on the Catholic calendar of the saints, as revised in 1969.

However, “Martyr Valentinus the Priest and those who are with him in Rome” are still on the list of saints proposed for veneration by all Catholics. Kind of a general shape. By the way: Valentine never actually appeared on the first list of Roman martyrs, compiled around 354.

Valentine’s Day origins

The feast of Saint Valentine (commemorating his date of death, as is customary with the saints, who then went “to his reward”) was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496, who astutely described the martyr as one of the most revered . by the faithful even though their actions are “known only to God.”

Gelasius thus solved, or rather avoided, the problem that no less than three Saint Valentines had suffered martyrdom in mid-February: a priest in Rome, a bishop in Interamna (Terni) and a “civil” martyr in Africa. .

Valentine as Patron of Lovers

The first pictorial impressions of Valentine appeared in 1493: a woodcut “portrait” with a backstory. This Valentine appears to have been a Roman priest arrested for marrying Christian couples. Despite being a criminal in the eyes of the law, Valentine managed to win the friendship of Emperor Claudius II. Taking this as a good omen, Valentine continued his efforts to convert Claudius II to Christianity. For his pains he was beaten to the pulp with sticks, then stoned, finally beheaded, and buried outside the Flaminian Gate (near today’s Piazza del Popolo) around the year 270.

Obviously, the friendship was only to a certain extent with the Emperor …

So martyrdom just because he was the type to marry, which immediately made him a prime candidate to become the patron saint of lovers.

Some historians, such as spoil sports, claim that Valentine is a pure fiction, invented to hijack the pagan festival of Lupercalia. As for the stories surrounding Valentine, it would certainly be correct to regard them as fiction (remember, his acts were only known to God). Many first appeared in 14th century England, including written by Geoffrey Chaucer and his friends, celebrating romantic love on February 14.

A holy traveler: the relics of Saint Valentine

Some sources insist that both the Roman priest and the Bishop of Terni were buried along the Via Flaminia, sharing the same day of the feast (massacre and Valentine’s wholesale burial, two for the price of one). Which made the relic hunt interesting, to say the least.

However, in 1836 the relics exhumed from the Catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on Via Tiburtina were identified as the earthly remains of Saint Valentine. It seems to me that CSI: the Vatican certainly knew how to work miracles with this positive identification.

The remains were quickly placed in a coffin and then taken to Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin. This was an official donation from Pope Gregory XVI, intended to provide a focus of veneration for the resurgent Catholic faith in Ireland. At this time, Roman Catholics were finally allowed to come out of the closet, but most ancient relics were missing and ancient churches were often taken over by the Church of Ireland. By providing a third century bona fide saint for Dublin, Gregory succeeded in granting the Carmelite church some instant seniority.

More Valentine’s around the world

Note that more Valentine relics abound: in Roquemaure (France), in Malta, in the Stephansdom (Vienna, Austria), in the Birmingham Oratory (UK) and in the Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus in the Gorbals from Glasgow. Oddly enough, the latter church would have served a social stratum similar to Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin.

Even stranger is the fact that the Birmingham relic is supposed to be the complete body of St. Valentine, given to Cardinal Newman by Pope Pius IX in 1847 – an accounting error at the Vatican?

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