I have been wrestling with this post for the last couple of days, becoming increasingly frustrated with the soppy, dollar store ideas out there for Valentines Day.
With Valentine’s day fast approaching the commercial world, are probably collectively rubbing their hands together with glee. Another day/holiday when lots of money is to be made, playing on the heart strings of us mere mortals.
It is generally believed that Saint Valentine was the patron Saint of Lovers, however really this is debatable. Many martyred saints by the name of Valentine (in Latin Valentinus) existed in Ancient Rome; however which one is our guy? The name of “Valentine”, derived from valens, meaning strong, worthy and popular was extremely popular in late antiquity. However of the Saint Valentine who we celebrate on February 14th, not much is known, except that there are several caskets/boxes of relics floating around in the world’s churches.
Santa Maria in Cosmedin Rome has his skull for posterity. No doubt the relic attracts countless lovers on February 14th, for his blessing.
There is another set in the Blessed John Duns Scotus' church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland, my guess is as good as yours as to what is in this box.
Still in the region of the British Isles, the Irish also have a set. In 1836, some relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus Rome, were identified with St Valentine; placed in a casket, and transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, to which they were donated by Pope Gregory XVI. At least this set has official approval.
Alleged relics of St. Valentine also lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France, and also in the Stephansdom in Vienna. (The Viennese seem a little secretive about their lot, as I could not find a photo).
So not only being the patron Saint of Love, it seems that Saint Valentine could also do double duty as the patron Saint of Travel as well, because he sure does get around!
Regardless of the origins and whose bones all of the above may be, let’s dispense with the commercialism and the soppy kitsch of the day and celebrate love every day with savoir faire!