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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  February 2006

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION February 2006

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Subject:

Re: St Valentine

From:

Paul Chandler <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Feb 2006 12:54:55 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Bibliotheca Sanctorum (13 vols. + various supplements, Rome: Istituto 
Giovanni XXIII, 1961-  ) -- the largest and, I suppose, most 
authoritative dictionary of saints -- backs up what George has to say 
about the various St Valentines (it lists 19). The article on the 
Valentine in question, by Agostino Amore, 12:896-897, has this to say (I 
summarise at length):

    Valentine, priest, saint, martyr in Rome (?). Commemorated in the
    Roman Martyrology on 14 February with a reference from Bede (d.
    735), who took it from the legendary Passion of Maris and Martha
    (BHL 5543), which recounts that Valentine, arrested by order of the
    emperor Claudius Gothicus, was beheaded on the Via Flaminia and
    buried there by a certain Sabinilla; a later redaction of the
    legened (BHL 8465) adds that Pope Julius I erected a basilica above
    the grave. The basilica was rebuilt by Pope Theodore; the
    itineraries of the 7th c. record it as "mirifice ornata".

    It seems that Valentine's feast was already celebrated by the time
    of Gregory the Great (d. 604); it is noted in the 7th c. Capitularia
    and the Gregorian Sacramentray.

    However, in spite of all these references, it is unfortunately
    necessary to say that a martyr Valentine, priest of Rome, never
    existed. He arises from a mistaken interpretation of the notice in
    the Liberian Catalogue, where the biography of Pope Julius I says
    "fecit... basilicam Via Flaminia mil. ii que appellatur Valentini".

    The Valentine mentioned here, as in many later texts of the time, is
    not "a saint", but the benefactor who gave the pope the necessary
    means for the construction of the basilica, and who therefore gave
    it its name--a benefactor who, around the 5-6th century, was
    considered and venerated as a saint, as happened with many others
    who founded churches in Rome, especially the "tituli".

Perhaps such doubts about his existence are the reason Valentine was 
removed from the liturgical calendar in the reform of 1969?

There's nothing in Bibl.SS. about the later legends associated with 
Valentine. Its attitude to such things is generally rather astringent, 
too much so, I think. Has anyone mentioned H.A. Kelly, Chaucer and the 
Cult of Saint Valentine (Leiden, 1986)?

Amore is also the author of the Bibl.SS. entry on Valentine of Terni 
(12:899), whose feast is also on 14 February. He seems to have no doubts 
of his existence, though he does say: "Who Valentine was and when he 
lived are impossible to specify; in later tradition, at least from the 
6-7th c., he is presented as bishop of Terni, but it is not certain that 
he held this office."
=========
Paul Chandler, O.Carm.  |  Carmelite Library
214 Richardson Street  |  Middle Park Vic 3206  |  Australia
tel:: (03) 9682 8553  |  fax: (03) 9699 1944  |  email: 
[log in to unmask]


[log in to unmask] wrote:

>medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>
>Good day, eh?
>
>My THE NEW MISSAL FOR EVERY DAY by
>F. X. Lasance (New York: Benziger Bros.,
>1924), revised at that time (at last!) to
>conform to the first Vatican council, says:
>
>     St. Valentine was a holy priest in
>     Rome who assisted the martyrs in
>     the persecution under Claudius II.
>     In the end he was beheaded for
>     being a Christian, Feb.14, A.D. 270.
>
>The much-discussed Catholic Encyclopedia,
>on the other hand, is not nearly so certain,
>stating there were 3 different St. Valentines.
>The Encyclopedia says that the acts of the
>two 3rd century Italian Valentines are of a
>much later date and "of no historical value."
>There was also an African St. Valentine.
>Of him, the Encyclopedia says we know no
>more than he suffered with companions.
>
>Were it me, I'd go with George's article.
>
>
>Regards,
>Frank
>
>**********************************************************************
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>  
>

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