Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Rerun/Sacred Sunday Combo

St. Valentine's Day Version

In honor of St. Valentine's Day I will repost a blog I wrote regarding it's origins. Thank you Jim, of It's This or Go Crazy, for reminding me that I had such a post that my new followers might enjoy. Again, I am working all weekend so I may not be able to respond, personally to your replies. I hope your Valentine's Day lives up to your every expectation.

St. Valentine lived during the reign of the Roman emperor, Claudius II, also known as Claudius the Cruel. Claudius was especially fond of persecuting Christians. It was these Christian martyrs whom Valentine, in his ministry, cared for and assisted in their time of suffering and sorrow.
Claudius II, as one would guess, had his empire involved in many unpopular wars and bloody campaigns. He, naturally, had great difficulty recruiting men to fill the ranks of the Roman military. Claudius thought that this was due to the men not wanting to leave their loved ones. So what does he do? He outlaws marriage! St. Valentine, in spite this ruling, performed marriages in secret. He is believed to have been the first priest to perform a marriage between a pagan man and a Christian woman. Unfortunately, Valentine was discovered and jailed. To be freed, all Valentine had to do was to renounce his Christian faith. Valentine refused and, for that, was sentenced to execution by clubbing and stoning.

While in jail awaiting for his sentence to be carried out, St. Valentine corresponded with his parishioners by sending letters and notes of love. Legend has it that he fell in love with one of his frequent visitors: Julia, the blind daughter of Asterius, his jailer. God enabled Valentine to miraculously restore Julia’s site and converted her heart, and that of her father, to the Christian faith.

As with any good love story, there is bound to be a tragic end. Tradition holds that as Valentine was being led to his execution he wrote one last farewell note of love, to his beloved Julia. His closing words are immortalized to this day: “From your Valentine”. The execution sentence was carried out. Strangely, Valentine survived the clubbing and stoning only to be eventually beheaded on February 14, 269 or 270 AD!

The pagan origin of St. Valentine’s Day is somewhat sordid in nature. In ancient Rome, on February 15, the people celebrated the Festival of Lupercalia, dedicated to the Roman god Lupercus. On this day, young men would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery. He would then keep this woman as his sexual companion for the year. After Christianity took hold in the region, Pope Gelasius I was able to change tradition by taking this lottery and having both men and women draw the names of saints whom they would then emulate for the year (much to the disappointment of some Roman men, I am sure!) The patron of this feast became Valentine and the date of his martyrdom became the date for this celebration. For Roman men, unable to let go of the past, this day continued to be an occasion to seek the affections of women. It became a tradition to give out handwritten messages of admiration that included Valentine’s name.


Brian Miller said...

great tale. hope you have a wonderful weekend and valentine's with the one you love.

James Hawley said...

I don't know Polly.... this is a lovely story but Wikipedia says "About St. Valentine very little is known".

Who to believe.... you or wikipedia?


Julie Schuler said...

oh yuck! Can you imagine being one of those women, watching them draw names? I just know I'd get a dud!

Jephy's Mom said...

Julie, you make me laugh. Happy Valentine's Day Polly. May your work this weekend make somebody's Valentine's Day a great one.

Nessa said...

I like this story of the origins of this celebration. Very romantic. Don't work too hard.

Purdie Pyrate

Purple Flowers said...

I love this story. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweetheart!

Tracy said...

regarding your note:

*thanks about my smile
*I was pulling for Carolina, we are big 'Heel fans here, but .... that night it was not to be so.
*The little one in the pink was a friend of a friend of a friend, but she was a cutie.
*everyone is always ready for BBQ!

Corrie Howe said...

Thanks for running this again. It is always nice to be reminded of all the details.

Midday Escapades said...

Happy Valentine's Day, Polly! Hope you and your family are having a great day.

Betty said...

I love this story , Polly. Have a great VL weekend with those you love.

Mumsy said...

Thank you for this story! It's very interesting, and wonderfully told.

Happy Valentine's Day!


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