|Saint Valentine receives a rosary from the Virgin, by David Teniers III|
|Bishop and Martyr|
|Died||270; traditionally ca. 269 but see text|
For more details on this topic, see Valentine's Day.
English 18th-century antiquarians Alban Butler and Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine's identity, suggested that Valentine's Day was created as an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia (mid-February in Rome). This idea has lately been dismissed by other researchers, such as Professor Jack B. Oruch of the University of Kansas, Henry Ansgar Kelly of the University of California, Los Angeles and Associate Professor Michael Matthew Kaylor of the Masaryk University. Many of the current legends that characterize Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love.
Oruch charges that the traditions associated with "Valentine's Day", documented in Geoffrey Chaucer's Parliament of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, did not exist before Chaucer. He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notablyAlban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. In the French 14th-century manuscript illumination from aVies des Saints (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at there is no suggestion here that the bishop was a patron of lovers.
During the Middle Ages it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. This was then associated with the romance of Valentine. Although all these legends may differ in ways, Valentine’s day is widely recognized as a day for romance and devotion.
Relics and liturgical celebration
In 1836, some relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, then near (rather than inside) Rome, were identified with St Valentine; placed in a casket, and transported to the procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love.
Also in 1836, Fr. John Spratt, an Irish priest and famous preacher, was given many tokens of esteem following a sermon in Rome. One gift from Pope Gregory XVI were the remains of St. Valentine and "a small vessel tinged with his blood." The Reliquary was placed in Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin,Ireland, and has remained there until this day. This was accompanied by a letter claiming the relics were those of St. Valentine.
Another relic was found in 2003 in Prague in Church of St Peter and Paul at Vyšehrad.
A silver reliquary containing a fragment of St. Valentine's skull is found in the parish church of St. Mary's Assumption in Chelmno Poland.
Alleged relics of St. Valentine also lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France, in theStephansdom in Vienna, in Balzan in Malta and also in Blessed John Duns Scotus' church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland. There is also a gold reliquary bearing the words 'Corpus St. Valentin, M' (Body of St. Valentine, Martyr) at The Birmingham Oratory, UK, in one of the side altars in the main church.
Saint Valentine remains in the Roman Catholic Church's official list of saints (the Roman Martyrology), but, in view of the scarcity of information about him, his commemoration was removed from the General Roman Calendar, when this was revised in 1969. It is included in local calendars of places such as Balzan in Malta. Some Traditionalist Catholics observe earlier calendars of the Roman Rite, in which Saint Valentine was celebrated as a Simple Feast until 1955, when Pope Pius XII reduced the mention of him to a commemoration in theMass of the day, a position it kept in the General Roman Calendar of 1960 incorporated in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, use of which, as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, is still authorized in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 motu proprioSummorum Pontificum.