History of St. Valentine

Not St. Valentine, but a reminder of how much we need women (or men), and God, in our lives

FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS

Who was Saint Valentine and how did he come to inspire Valentine’s Day?

In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. Unfortunately, the historical record is sparse. The first St. Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome. He along with St. Marius and his family comforted the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the Goth. Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine’s tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century “the Gate of St. Valentine,” as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.

The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.

The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine’s Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, “half-way through the second month of the year.” Chaucer wrote in his “Parliament of Foules” (in Old English): “For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” For this reason, the day was dedicated to “lovers” and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.

Continue reading History of St. Valentine. It’s an interesting story.

And that’s the story, as I’ve always known. That part of this post was originally published in 2013, and while there was more of it, it’s not overly relevant now. The day before I received one of those dreaded phone calls. My oldest sister died that day, and the rest of the post was me explaining why Jessica, my fairly new co-blogger at the time, would be taking over for a few days. And she did her usual superb job. I go back sometimes and read her posts, I did yesterday, and it never fails to amaze me how she could say so much in about 500 words, I’m almost always at 7-800 and not as clear as she was. Oh well. Things always change, and we carry on.

In any case, I read an article yesterday about how Charles Wesley, who along with his brother John, founded Methodism, found that loving his wife increased his love of God, and vice versa as well. I wonder if that isn’t true for many of those we admire so much, being both some of the best Christians we know and having those amazing long and seemingly really good marriages as well.

The “Lesser” Wesley

Accounts of the great evangelical revival of the 18th century often neglect the life and thought of Charles Wesley (1707–1788). He wrote well over 7,000 hymns, but his older brother John has almost always been honored as the greater of the two men. Even as a child, Charles tended to be sickly, and illness plagued him for much of his life.

Yet Charles was raised in the same home as his brother John, listening to their father, Samuel Wesley Sr., preach in the Epworth church in Lincolnshire, England. Charles, likewise, learned under the tutelage of their assiduous mother, Susanna, who guided the children in their earliest years and taught them the basics of Christian belief and practice.

At Oxford, Charles was initially rather indifferent to matters of faith. After a year of study, however, he recognized the need to set new patterns. Charles began to take the religious life more seriously, celebrated the Lord’s Supper weekly, and convinced a few of his friends to accompany him in the process.

Do read this one as well, it’ll make you smile (or at least it did me!) and help you to recognize the really important things in life. When I first wrote this, I said, “I was going to continue this with some thoughts on how we celebrate the day now. You know, all the money we spend and how every girl needs a dozen roses or a 4½ foot tall teddy bear and such.”

It’s true, that outward swag doesn’t really mean much, except perhaps to remind her you didn’t forget and that’s important. But what is really important is to love and respect each other. That I think is the key to loving each other, and maybe to loving God as well. At least that’s my 2¢ worth. I’m probably overcharging you though. I think I’m maybe a decent Christian, but I’m sitting here alone, having been divorced for over 20 years, so do as I say, not as I did.

The Pirates of Penzance – Wichita

Since it’s the weekend after Halloween, I think we need a pirate story, so here you go

Enjoy

 

History of St. Valentine

FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS

Who was Saint Valentine and how did he come to inspire Valentine’s Day?

In the early martyrologies, three different St. Valentines are mentioned, all sharing Feb. 14 for a feast day. Unfortunately, the historical record is sparse. The first St. Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome. He along with St. Marius and his family comforted the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the Goth. Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270. He was buried on the Flaminian Way. Later, Pope Julius I (333-356) built a basilica at the site which preserved St. Valentine’s tomb. Archeological digs in the 1500s and 1800s have found evidence of the tomb of St. Valentine. However, in the thirteenth century, his relics were transferred to the Church of Saint Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major, where they remain today. Also, a small church was built near the Flaminian Gate of Rome which is now known as the Porta del Popolo but was called in the 12th century “the Gate of St. Valentine,” as noted by the early British historian William Somerset (also known as William of Malmesbury, d. 1143), who ranks after St. Bede in authority.

The second St. Valentine was the Bishop of Interamna (now Terni, located about 60 miles from Rome). Under the orders of Prefect Placidus, he too was arrested, scourged, and decapitated, again suffering persecution during the time of Emperor Claudius II.

The third St. Valentine suffered martyrdom in Africa with several companions. However, nothing further is known about this saint. In all, these men, each named St. Valentine, showed heroic love for the Lord and His Church.

The popular customs of showing love and affection on St. Valentine’s Day is almost a coincidence with the feast day of the saint: During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb.14, “half-way through the second month of the year.” Chaucer wrote in his “Parliament of Foules” (in Old English): “For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” For this reason, the day was dedicated to “lovers” and prompted the sending of letters, gifts, or other signs of affection.

Continue reading History of St. Valentine.

I was going to continue this with some thoughts on how we celebrate the day now. You know, all the money we spend and how every girl needs a dozen roses or a 4½ foot tall teddy bear and such.

But sometimes real life intrudes on blogging, and I’m going to be tied up for about a week on family business, and pretty much away from the blog. So my dearest friend and co-author Jessica is going to be doing most of the work here as well as her own blog.

There’s nothing especially secret about what I’m going to be doing, I’m just not ready to talk about it, maybe when I return. I couldn’t be leaving you in better hands, Jess is the one I turn to when there are problems in my life, and I like to think I’ve reciprocated as much as I could. There are several occasions over the last few months when I have, for one reason or another had enough, and nearly shut this place down, so if you like Nebraska Energy Observer, you have Jess to thank for it still being here.

And one more thing:

Happy Valentine’s Day, Jess. You already know how much you mean to me.♥♥♥♥

 

Union Station at Christmas

As I was heading east last month, I managed to get a few pictures of Union Station in Chicago at Christmas. I’m sure no Photographer but I hope you enjoy them.

Union Station, Chicago is, of course, one of the classic American Railroad stations, which at one time served about half of the railroads in Chicago, now it serves Amtrak and the commuter lines. eat your heart out, New York, you should have saved Penn Station.

A panoramic view of the front of the station

A panoramic view of the front of the station

The Porte Chochere at the Entrance

The Porte Chochere at the Entrance

A detail of one of the Luminaires

A detail of one of the Luminaires

 

The street entrance to the Great Hall

The street entrance to the Great Hall

The Great Hallthe main waiting room

The Great Hall
the main waiting room

The Information Kiosk

The Information Kiosk

 

The Christmas Display

The Christmas Display

Hope you enjoyed it.

 

On to 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! (Photo credit: erjkprunczýk)

Celebrating a new year has always seemed to me to be a rather silly thing to do, especially if the old one was good. Well, I guess I’ll go with the flow, which is pretty much summarized as “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times”. Our political situation remains quite dire, we’ve talked much, perhaps overmuch, of it and will continue to do so but, not today.

Today is sort of a day of remembrance, and I have many good things to remember about this year. From the agreement of my dearest friend Jess, to spend time she can’t really afford bringing her unique perspective on America to us, as well as her own wonderful Christian blog. There is also Gilia with her Hump Day Report, which does a wonderful job of keeping us informed. I am always informed and often amused at what Dan Miller writes from his outpost.

Then there are my favorites, some from before I was blogging, I was so happy to see Villainous Company and the Blogprincess Cassandra return. This is one place where you will find very intelligent writing and discussion on the issues of the day. A relativly new site that I ran across lately is Small Town Nebraska where Julie gives a very good perspective on what living out here is like. Along that line is another neighbor of mine who is a superb writer. That would be my muddin’ buddy Deadeyescribe and yeah, Scribe, sooner or later I’ll be along to fix your electric.

Just to shorten this up a bit, all of those sites in my sidebar, and in addition, almost all the sites on Jessica’s as well, I do read, although like (too) many of you, I don’t always comment.

But, like Jess says, if you want to see what an honest and good politician can be, and is: You must read Rebecca Hamilton’s Public Catholic. It is simply incomparable, and besides, that’s where I first met Jess. 🙂

There are so many more that I enjoy so much, as well as being informed, nearly all of them are friends, either old or new, all are recommended.

So Jess and I wish you to:

Have a Wonderful New Year, my Friends.

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