Who Was St. Valentine? {A mystery as deep as love itself}

Shrouded in mystery, St Valentine was described by pope Gelasius as among those -"whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are know only to God" at the dedication of the Feast of St. Valentine in 496AD.
Today those words are still true. 

There are three notable St. Valentines in history that may have been the Valentines we celebrate today. The first was martyred in a Roman province of Africa and not much else is known. The second was St. Valentines of Terni, a bishop from about 197ad.  The third was St. Valentines of Rome who was martyred around 270ad.

Of these three, the only solid reference is to the third one, St. Valentine of Rome, and is likely the one we derive our modern day celebrate from. The reference to this St. Valentine comes from an ancient text called the Nuremberg Chronicle where alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine, it is written that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. The Emperor Claudius took a liking to this prisoner – until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor – whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. (source)

At the time of  Claudius II in Rome it was not only illegal to aid Christians, but according to a quote by Father Frank O'Gara on it was even illegal to marry young people as it was thought that unmarried soldiers fought better than those who had loved ones at home to worry about.

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)
Where it is questionable:
The Nuremberg Chronicle (which give details of our a most likely St. Valentines) was written in 1493 nearly 1000 years after the dedication of  the St Valentines Feast where pope Gelasius stated the words "whose acts are know only to God". These words make it one ask the question, if so little was know about Valentines, where did the Chronicle derive its account of Valentines secretly marrying Christians? 

And another troubling detail, the account in the Nuremberg Chronicle would have put Valentine's martyrdom around 270 ad during the rule of Claudius, but the official list of martyrs for that time period was complied in 345ad and does not list any Valentines. There were however, as many as 14 Valentines recorded as being martyred in ancient Rome after 345ad (source).  Valentines was a common name in that time period derived from the word 'valens' meaning worthy, strong, powerful.

Where there is proof:
 There is a dedication in an ancient massive Roman church that reads:

Basilica S. Valentini extra Portam 
The basilica appellatur Valentini 

Which translates too:

The "Basilica of Staint Valentine beyond the Gate"
"is called Valentine's"

These seem to point to a notable roman priest 'Valentine' from an earlier (possibly 270ad) time period.

Saint Valentine of Terni oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni, 
from a 14th century French manuscript. 

Today it is still unclear if Valentines day is the compilation of the noble works of many St. Valentines plus a bit of legend, or the extraordinary works of one man. Either way, it is a tradition built on idea of :

noble honor, 
and good works. 

A beautiful history to accompany our modern day celebration of 
Saint Valentine baptizing Saint Lucilla byJacopo Bassano

Happy Valentine's Day

This was originally posted last year, but for those who did not see it I thought it would be a great post to share again. Happy Valentines!


Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. 
May all of his dreams come true.

Here shown with Lyndon B. Johnson:
(3 photos below)

With his wife:

With Malcolm X

And speaking:


Happy New Years!

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear, (for old times sake, my dear)
for auld lang syne, (for old times sake)
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne. (for old times sake)
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne. (for old times sake)

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine† ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give me a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

Wishing you the best in the new year!!

Like this post? Clicking the +1 button below to recommends this post in google searches.


Peppermint Chocolate Gingerbread Men {Christmas Cookie Recipe}

Full of flavor, these designer looking cookies are actually quite simple to make! 

Gingerbread cookies are a tradition in my household. A tradition that began when my husband and I were so very young, just starting out in life. I was a new mom still in my 20's. We lived in a little apartment and I had just quit work to stay at home full time with my kiddos.

At that time my husband worked on commission and had a very bad month. We knew his check was never the same from month to month, and was usually not forgiving at Christmas, so we were prepared.

 But, that first December was even more difficult that we expected. And we knew there would be no money for gifts outside of our little family. Being one who liked to bake, I always had an ample supply of flour, brown sugar, and such on hand. So I rifled through my cabinets and found that I had enough to make several dozen gingerbread men!

My oldest son, who was all of 2, and I set about making gingerbread men. We had the best time. He giggled as he saw them take shape. He waited as for them to come out of the oven and cool. He ate ALL of the broken ones. We made faces, smiles, frowns, and crooked little mouths.

We had so much fun! It became a tradition. And after 11 years of tweaking, the recipe below is the recipe we now make each year at Christmas. And that little 2 year old, who is now nearly 14, still smiles as he cuts out gingerbread men!

These cookies are really simple, there are no special tools required. The snowflake was an added touch this year, I bought a shaker full of them, but we usually make these without snowflakes. Once you have made your gingerbread men you just dip them in Chocolate that has been heated with a little vegetable oil and then when they are completely cool use a tablespoon to drizzle a mix of powdered sugar water and peppermint extract. Peppermint extract is found right next to the vanilla extract in most stores.

And the recipe above is printable!
To print: click on the recipe, click again to make sure it if fully expanded. Select 'file' and 'print' from your browsers window. (If you are using google chrome you may need to right click and open the recipe in a new window, click again to expand it, and then select the wrench from the top of the page to find the print button). If you have any trouble try saving the recipe to your desktop by right clicking on it and saving it and then printing from there.

I shared this recipe before, but as I am making these today though I would post them for anyone else looking for a fun holiday treat. :)


Christmas Quote Quiz!

Can you name the author for each quote about Christmas? (Answers follow, below.)

There's nothing sadder in this world than to wake Christmas morning and not be a child.

This is the message of Christmas: we are never alone.

I will honour Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year.

At Christmas, all roads lead to home.

The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don't clean it up too quickly.

At Christmas play and make good cheer, For Christmas comes but once a year.

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.


Erma Bombeck

Taylor Caldwell

Charles Dickens (from A Christmas Carol)

Marjorie Holmes

Charles N. Barnard

Hamilton Wright Mabie

Norman Vincent Peale

Andy Rooney

Thomas Tusser

Larry Wilde

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


Popular posts: