Friday, February 14, 2020

Guest Post: The Origin of St. Valentine's Day by Bill Federer

American Minute with Bill Federer
Origin of Saint Valentine's Day
The origin of Saint Valentine's Day goes back to the 3rd century.

At that time, the Roman Empire was being invaded by Goths.
At the same time, the Plague of Cyprian, probably smallpox, broke out killing at its height 5,000 people a day.
So many died that the Roman army was depleted of soldiers.
Roman Emperor Claudius II needed more soldiers to fight the invading Goths.

He believed that men fought better if they were not married, so he banned traditional marriage in the military.
Rome was also torn from internal rivalries which continued since the assassination of the previous Emperor, Gallienus.

Emperor Claudius II quelled these tensions by requesting the Roman Senate deify Emperor Gallienus, so as to be worshiped along with the other Roman gods.
Citizens were forced to worship the Roman gods, and "deified" emperors, by placing a pinch of incense on a fire before their statues.

Those who refused worship of the Roman gods were considered "politically incorrect" or "unpatriotic" enemies of the state and killed.
Emperor Decian's persecution specifically targeted Christians with legislation forcing them to deny their consciences or die.
During the first three centuries of Christianity, there were ten major persecutions in which the government threw Christians to the lions, boiled them alive, had their tongues cut out, and worse.
Roman soldiers would break into church meetings, catacombs, and homes, confiscating and destroying Christian writings, scriptures and church records.

Because so many records were destroyed, details of Saint Valentine's life are scant.
What little is known is from the works of Eusebius of Caesarea, compiled around 362 AD and the Martyrologium Hieronymianum (Martyrology of Jerome), compiled around A.D. 460-544.
Saint Valentine is mentioned in Legenda Sanctorum by Jacobus de Voragine in 1260 and in the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.
Though several individuals may have had that name, it appears Saint Valentine was either a priest in Rome or a bishop in Terni, central Italy.
He risked the Emperor's wrath by standing up for traditional marriage, secretly marrying soldiers to their young brides.
When Emperor Claudius demanded that Christians deny their consciences and worship pagan idols, Saint Valentine refused.
He was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, and condemned him to die.
While awaiting execution, his jailer, Asterius, asked Saint Valentine to pray for his blind daughter.
When she miraculously regained her sight, the jailer converted and was baptized, along with many others.
Right before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to the jailer's daughter, signing it, "from your Valentine."

Saint Valentine was beaten with clubs and stones, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate on FEBRUARY 14, 269AD.
In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius designated FEBRUARY 14th as "Saint Valentine's Day."
In the High Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, called the father of English literature, wrote a poem called Parliament of Foules (Assembly of Fowls) (c.1393).

It it he described how fowls, birds, chose their mates in mid-February:

"For this was Saint Valentine's day, when every bird of every kind that men can imagine comes to this place to choose his mate."

He made another mention in the final chapter of The Cantebury Tales:

"The book of the Duchesse; the book of Seint Valentynes day of the Parlement of Briddes (Birds)."
The association of birds with fidelity in marital love came about because 90 percent of bird species are monogamous.
Many bird species mate for life, such as varieties of:

Canada Geese,
Ravens, Cranes,
Blue Jays,
Barn Owls,
Red-Tailed Hawks,
Penquins, and
Bald Eagles,
After elaborate courtships, depending on their species, these birds remain together until one partner dies.
Birds that mate for life have offspring that require more extensive care and instruction from parents.
They are able to mate earlier in the season which allows their young more time to develop before the fall and winter seasons of long migrations or harsh winter weather.
                                                  ***** Hope you've found the origin of Valentine's Day as interesting as I did! And I love the list of birds that mate for life and their relation to Valentine's Day.Enjoy the cards, candy, and flowers, and send some. Valentine's Day marks a bright spot like the sun rising in an otherwise cold, darker winter season. It is a great opportunity to show our love to others.Google American Minute by Bill Federer if you'd like to sign up for his newsletter. He sends out great historical information.            Happy Valentine's Day!Elva Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is 2020 President of the SC Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has three inspirational novels published, Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and two historical romances, In a Pirate’s Debt, and Marisol, Book 1 in a new Charleston Brides series for  Wild Heart Books. All three novels have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. She has indie published a Bible study on Amazon, Power Over Satan, on the  believer's authority in Christ. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. She and her husband Dwayne are retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest  
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