Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Valentine the Saint
Today is Valentines day, the day of Saint Valentine.
If you just look at the shops today you'd be forgiven for thinking St Valentine was a soppy man who was all about superficial demonstrations of love. Perhaps he adores cute animals or spent all his time doodling hearts everywhere. Perhaps, if we went below the surface a bit, we could think he was about encouraging people to express true love. The truth couldn't be further from our modern experiences of valentines.
So what do we know about St Valentine?
He lived 1,700 years ago in Italy
He was a priest in Rome and probably a Bishop.
He might also have been a doctor and healed sick children.
He assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II.
He wouldn't renounce his faith.
He was beaten and then beheaded on February 14 of 270.
He is the Patron Saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers and young people.
There doesn't seem to be any reason why he's the patron saint of love, not that I can find; but as a Christian martyr he certainly loved God, loved other Christians and gave his life for this love.
Makes you think about fluffy kittens and hearts a bit differently doesn't it.
Perhaps we should instead be standing up for the oppressed and persecuted on the world on valentines day.
How about next year we sending cards of complaint about human rights atrocities instead of cards of love.