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[Fwd: FW: [WOrthodox] BIO: Valentine, martyr (14 Feb 300?)]

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Poster: afcarey@norfolk.infi.net

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From: "Carey, Dan" <careydm@federal.unisys.com>
To: "'aAnne'" <afcarey@norfolk.infi.net>
Subject: FW: [WOrthodox] BIO: Valentine, martyr (14 Feb 300?)
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 16:24:42 -0500
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You might want to forward this to Atlantia-l.

> ----------
> From: 	kilroy@copland.rowan.edu[SMTP:kilroy@copland.rowan.edu]
> Sent: 	Friday, February 13, 1998 7:26 PM
> To: 	ceclist@associate.com; worthodox@associate.com
> Subject: 	[WOrthodox] BIO: Valentine, martyr (14 Feb 300?)
> Around this time of year, many persons ask:
> "Who was St. Valentine, and what does he have to do with ending
> romantic cards and messages?"
> St. Valentine is a martyr from before 312, commemorated on the 14th
> of February.  Probably he was martyred on that date, but nothing
> else is known of him. (A Valentine, priest of Rome, and a Valentine,
> bishop of Ternia (Interamna), are both commemorated on 14 February,
> and now generally assumed to be the same person.) In many parts of
> Europe, it was once said that birds began to pair off for the
> nesting season in mid-February. Since our forebears often spoke of a
> given day by naming a saint connected with it rather than by giving
> the month and the number of the day, we find them saying that birds
> choose their mates on St. Valentine's day.  That is all. If a major
> earthquake took place on Columbus Day, it would probably be known to
> future generations as the Columbus Day earthquake, but it would be a
> mistake to try to connect it with Columbus.
>      There are several stories making the rounds that try to explain
> the connection between valentines and Valentine. Every one that I
> have heard sounds like an explanation made up after the fact,
> probably by a Victorian clergyman lecturing to children. There are
> other explanations attempting to connect it with various pagan
> festivals of the early spring.  Again, I am not impressed. That
> young men should send romantic messages in the springtime both in 90
> BC and in 1990 AD does not require a conspiracy theory to explain
> it.
> AFTERTHOUGHT: The chief authority for the statement that 14 February
> is the date when birds were thought to pair off is Chaucer, who
> writes of "Valentine's day, when every fowl doth choose his mate."
> However, it has been pointed out that in addition to the two obscure
> Valentines commemorated on 14 February, there is a still more
> obscure one associated with 2 May, and that Chaucer may have had
> this date in mind. Two arguments for supposing that he did: (1) May
> seems more likely than February for birds to start building
> nests--but I am no expert on birds of England; (2) King Richard II
> was formally betrothed to Anne of Bohemia on 3 May, and Chaucer may
> have intended a reference to the royal couple. He was a member of
> the Royal Court, and was often invited to recite his own poems
> before the King and Queen and others, and his poems contain at least
> one other indirect reference to the Royal Marriage. If we accept
> this theory, then we must suppose that, after all memory of the May
> Valentine had died out in England, Chaucer's statement was
> misunderstood as referring to the earlier date.

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