Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Thoughts on St Valentine

St Valentine – 14th February.

I couldn’t let this week go by without making mention of St  Valentine who in the BCP lectionary is listed as being a martyr at Rome, and who it is thought died c 269 AD.

 If there was such a man as Valentine, I cant imagine what he would make of the commercial business which  flourishes at this time of year, quickly to be supplanted after February 14th by Mothers Day “ merchandise.


Who was he? Well we shall probably never really know as there will always be legend surrounding these early Christian Saints. There is an extra problem with Valentine because early Christian times there were several St Valetines about.  But here is one version of the life of Valentine of Rome that I rather like


It is thought that Valentine of Rome he lived  200 years or so after Christ, a priest who lived under Cladius 11,  a cruel emperor. Cladius wanted to raise a mighty army of young men from Rome and thus forbade marriage which of course might deter young men from wanting to fight.


Valentine, however, was not prepared to abide by this rule and used to conduct marriages in secret until he was found out and imprisoned. He became very close to the jailor’s daughter, restored her sight and this converted her father.   On the night before he was executed, so the story goes, he wrote a letter to her expressing his affection. It was on February 14th c 269 that he was killed.   Some think the custom of exchanging cards on that arose in his honour. Others simply that it had been observed that birds paired up around mid February. Others think there was  a Roman Feast at that time all tied up with fertility rights and Christian priests wanted to suppress it and thus substituted Valetine’s  Feast day instead. St Valentine’s day was certainly celebrated in England in 1477.


He has extensive patronage : and not surprisingly he is regarded by some as the patron saint of affianced couples, greeting cards manufacturers, lovers and happy marriages. Quite why he is the patron saint of bee keepers I’m not sure.


Other “romantic  ” traditions have become attached to this feast, including pinning bay leaves to your pillow on Valentine’s Eve so that you will see the person you are closest too in your dreams.


Whatever the truth of Valentine’s life, as with many of the early Christians, they lived their lives in complete faith in Jesus Christ and were prepared to die for that faith. Even when Valentine was in the direst of circumstances, he was trying to help and heal people and tell others about Christ.

We remember today the faith of all those who gave their lives in the service of Christ, and whilst we are not called to do that in such dramatic circumstances, we ask for strength to carry out the work He would have us do in the places where we live and work. Amen.

** Don’t forget the bay leaves!

February 13, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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