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History of Valentine’s Day
The Three St. Valentines
The rituals of St. Valentine’s Day began way back in Roman times in the year 269 A.D. There is some ambiguity in how the rituals began because of the three priests, all martyred, two by Emperor Claudius II. The emperor had decreed that marriage made a soldier less effective and decreed that no soldier would be married. Valentinus married men in secret and when discovered was ordered killed.
Another priest Valentinus fell in love with a woman who visited him while he was incarcerated. On the day he died, February 14, 269 he sent a card declaring his love and that he was her valentine. That was believed to be the first valentine card. Later, hundreds of years later, Pope Gelasius made the day of his death, Valentine’s day.
These catholic beginnings have been joined by Christian traditions and include tokens of love, cards, and flowers. Despite these facts, Valentine’s Day is not a religious holiday having its root not in the church but in fertility rites, the people believing that birds flew off to mate on February 14th. The day is meant to make statements of forever love, the end being the sanctity of marriage.
Earlier, in the fourth century, Lupercalia was celebrated on February 15th with fertility rites. Single women put their names in an urn to be drawn out by the area single men. These women would be partnered for six months. After that time, the union often became permanent with marriage. Later this date was made a holiday to be celebrated with cards and flowers.
These events with St. Valentinus’ cemented February 14th as special and linked the date with romance and religious love.
History of Father George William Rutler
In later days, another religious catholic figure, Father George Rutler, has generated celebrity, been admired, and became powerful because of his years of priestly activities. In 1988 he began a weekly television program that was seen worldwide. He wrote 30 books, gave lectures, published articles in journals, and made documentary films.
He began as Episcopal and served for nine years as an Episcopal priest. He went to Rome and became a catholic in 1980. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s in 1981. Then he was assigned to St. Michael’s Church.
Throughout his life, Father Rutler worked at scholarship, graduated from Dartmouth University with a doctorate in Theology, and continued to receive degrees from other Universities. He became a board member of several firms. The number of honors, certificates in theology, and received an honor from a Texas governor later president, George Bush.