Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Valentine For You

Some Interesting information I found on the net several years ago in celebration of St. Valentine's Day.

St.Valentine's Day
As easly as the 4th century B. C., the Romans engaged in an annual young man's rite to passage to the God Lupercus.  The names of the teenage women were placed ina box and drawn at random by the adolescent men, thus, a man was assigned a woman companian for the duration of the year, after which another lottery was staged.  After eight hundred years of this cruel practice, the early Church fathers sought to end this practice.  They found an answer in Valentine, a Bishop who had been martyred some two hundred years earlier.

According to Church tradition St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D.  At that time the Roman Emperor Claudius ll who had issued an edict forbidding marriage.
This was around when the hayday of the Roman Empire had almost come to an end.  Lack of quality Administrators led to frequent civil strife.  Learning declined, taxation increased, and trade slumped to a low precarous level.  And the Gauls, Slavs, Huns, Turks and Mongolians from Northern Eroupe and Asia increased their pressure on the Empires boundaries.  The Empire had grown too large to be shielded from external aggression and internal choas with existing forces.  Thus more capable men were required to be recruited as soldiers and officers.  When Claudius became the Emperor he felt that married men were more emotionally  attached to their families and thus will not make good soldiers.  so to assure good quality soldiers, he banned marriage.
Valentine, a Bishop, seeing the trauma of the young lovers, met them in a secret place and joined them in the sacrement of matrimony.  Claudius learned of this, "friend of lovers" and had him arrested.  The emperor impressed with the young priest;s dignity and conviction atempted to convert him to the Roman Gods, to save him from certain execution.  Valentine refused to recognize Roman Gods and even attempted to convert the Emperor knowing the consequences fully.  On February 14, 270, Valentine was executed.

"From Your Valentine"
While Valenitne was in prison awaiting his fate, he came in contact with his jailor, Asterius.  The jailor had a blind daughter.  Asterius requested him to heal his daughter.  Through his faith he miraculously restored the sight of Asterius daughter.  Just before his execution, he asked for a pen a paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine", a phrase that has lived ever after.

Valentine became a patron Saint, and spirtual overseer of an annual festival.  The festival involved young Romans offering women they admired, and wished to court handwritten greetings of affection on February 14.  The greeting cards acquited St. Valentine's name.

The Valenitne card spread with Christianity and is now celebrated all over the world.  One of the earliest surviving Cards was sent in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, while he was a prisioner in the Tower of London.  The card is now preserved in the Tower of London.

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