The origins of Valentine's Day -

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Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.


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Valentine's Day

This article examines the origins of Valentine's Day.

A History of Valentine's Day

We will start in the year 269 in Rome. Claudius II is in power and is riding high after defeating the Goths in September of the previous year. He needs to rebuild a strong army, and he knows married men make poor soldiers. Therefore, Claudius II outlaws marriage. A Priest, or maybe a Bishop, named Valentine continued to perform weddings for Christians, and he was soon caught and imprisoned. Claudius II took a liking to Valentine and tried to convert him to Paganism. Valentine resisted the pagan teachings and began trying to convert Claudius to Christianity. When Claudius realized his efforts to convert Valentine were futile, he had Valentine stoned and beaten with clubs. Valentine still refused to renounce Christianity, so he was beheaded just outside of the Flaminian gate. Some sources say this happened in 270 or 273. These dates are unlikely in the one case and impossible in the other since Claudius II died in January of 270. So, did this really happen? Well Claudius II did defeat the Goths in September of 268. Everything else is probably pure fiction. The ruler before Claudius II had implemented a policy of tolerance towards the Christians. There is no evidence Claudius reversed this policy. There was a Saint Valentine. His remains are in the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, or maybe they are in the Stephansdom in Vienna, or maybe they lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France, or maybe at the Birmingham Oratory in the UK. Several people claim to have them. Let us not get bogged down here because the facts are a bit hazy. We will continue on with our story in a place and time when things are much clearer.

That place is still Rome, but the time was over 200 years later in the year 496. Pope Gelasius I was distraught because the pagans continued to celebrate various holidays relating to their pagan gods. The month of Gamelion went from mid-January to mid-February and was dedicated to the marriage of Zeus to Hera. More to the point, was the celebration of Lupercalia which was observed from February 13th to the 15th. This was a celebration local to the city of Rome. There was also a more general festival called Juno Februa (chaste Juno) which was celebrated on the 13th and 14th of February. Juno Februa was in honor of Juno Fructifier who was the queen of the roman gods and goddesses. Lupercalia was in honor of the wolf god Lupercus, the roman god who watched over their shepherds and flocks.

These celebrations involved men going to a place dedicated to Lupercal at the foot of Palatine Hill. According to roman mythology, there was a cave on Palatine Hill where the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, were suckled by a she-wolf. The men would go to this place to sacrifice a goat. They would don the skin of the sacrificed goat and then run around with small whips hitting the women. This was supposed to ensure fertility for these women throughout the upcoming year. Other celebration activities involved the women putting their names in a box. The men would then draw a name from the box, which would be the name of their sexual partner during the remainder of the celebration, or in some cases for the next year.

It is understandable Pope Gelasius I did not want this type of activity to continue. He followed the lead of what the church had done a hundred years earlier in December with the pagan holiday Saturnalia. He "Christianized" the pagan celebrations and reduced the length of the celebrations to a single day. He supposedly did this in honor of Saint Valentine. If this were true, Valentine's name should have appeared in the earliest list of roman martyrs compiled by the Chronographer of 354. However, the name Valentine does not appear in the list. Pope Gelasius himself stated Valentine was among those whose acts are known only to God. This tells us little was known of Valentine even back then. The Catholic Church has since done everything short of removing Saint Valentine from the list of saints. His commemoration was removed from the general calendar for universal liturgical veneration in 1969 because nothing is known of him. Valentine was a common name of that era, so there are several possibilities of who Saint Valentine really was. If the story of Saint Valentine is true, he was a man of incredible faith. A faith which was so strong, he refused to accept paganism while being stoned and beaten with clubs. A faith which was so strong, he still professed to be a Christian when he lay is head upon the block and waited for the axe to fall. I find it horribly ironic the name of a man of such faith is so intertwined with paganism. One cannot mention "Valentine" without conjuring up images of Cupid, the pagan god of erotic love and beauty.

This is what God has said to us.

Exo 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

This is what God has said to us.

Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

This is what God has said to us.

Deu 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

This is what God has said to us.

Deu 6:14 Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;

This is what God has said to us.

Deu 12:30 Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.

These are just a few of the scriptures which warn us away from other gods.

God told us again and again not to be associated in any way with any other gods.

Who are Zues, Hera, Juno Fructifier, Lupercus, and Cupid? Are they not the abominations which the God of Abraham continually warns us against even speaking their name? Yet, our nation promotes the celebration of their holidays. Our nation takes a day of rest on these pagan holidays. However, our nation will not rest on the Sabbath as commanded. What happened to every nation in the bible who acted in this manner?

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