|St Valentine (Bassano)|
|Frank Dicksee's Pre Raphaelite classic, Belle Dame Sans Merci|
Anyway, I'm not going to get into a religion bashing post. I'm actually interested in the history of Valentine's Day, the Western version celebrated on 14th February. There is quite some information on him, and due to excavations in Rome which have unearthed a catacomb and a Church dedicated to him, it is assumed that he was a real person. Valentine was sainted and given his feast day of February 14th as that was the day he was allegedly killed. He is supposed to have cured his jailor's daughter of blindness, and on the eve of his execution, wrote her a letter signed, "From Your Valentine". Valentine may have been a Priest who performed illegal Christian weddings in pre Christian Rome, which would explain why he was in prison. This isn't the whole story, but it's pretty romantic so I guess it fits the bill.
So he was martyred on 14th February 269 AD in Rome. He is the patron saint of betrothed couples, but so much more. Valentine is also patron saint of bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers and young people. Quite a diverse patronage! But then again, "Love is a many splendored thing"!
|Shakespeare's Star Cross'd Lovers, Romeo and Juliet|
Happy Valentine's to you all whether you are seeking love, are with you absolute soul mate, or anywhere between.