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Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine or Saint Valentinus refers to one of a number of saints, two of whom, a martyred Roman priest and a martyred bishop of Terni (Interamna), share the feast day of February 14 (popularly known as Valentine's Day).

The passion of the former Valentine is part of the legend of Saints Marius and Martha and their companions; that of the latter has no better historical foundation. Thus, no argument can be drawn from either account to differentiate the two saints. It would appear from the two accounts that both belonged to the same period, namely the reign of the emperor Claudius II Gothicus; that both died on the same day; and that both were buried on the Via Flaminia[?], but at different distances from Rome. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum mentions only one Valentinus: Interamnae miliario LXIIII. via Flaminia natale Valentini. It is probable that the basilica situated at the second milestone on the Via Flaminia was also dedicated to him. The date of his death remains undetermined.

The Saint Valentinus who appears as the apostle of Rhaetia, and who receives veneration in Passau as its first bishop, flourished in the 5th century.

Although the name of Saint Valentine is very popular in England, apparently no church has been dedicated to him. For the special observances commonly connected with Saint Valentine's Eve and Day, to which allusion is frequently made by English writers, such works as John Brand's Popular Antiquities (edited by W. C. Hazlitt, vol. ii. pp. 606-11, London, 1905), W. Hone's Every-Day Book, and Chambers's Book of Days may be consulted. Their appropriateness to the spring season is, in a general way perhaps, obvious enough, but the association of the lovers' festival with St Valentine seems to be purely accidental.

See Acta Sanctorum, February, ii. 753, 756, and January, i. 1094; G. B. de Rossi, Bullettino di archeologia cristiana (1871), p. 101 and (1878) p. 59.

The relics of one of the claimants to the title St. Valentine are now interred in a Carmelite church in Dublin, to which they were donated by a nineteenth century pope. Many tourists visit the saint's remains on St. Valentine's Day.

See also: St. Valentine's Day

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