Thursday, 14 February 2008

St. Valentine and the Orthodox Church

The Orthodox calendar mentions Saint Valentine, actually more than one Valentine. It depends on the country and on the decisions of the Patriarch and the synod (council).
For example the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrates a St. Valentine on April 24. This saint lived in Moesia in Durostorum. He was martyred because he was a Christian and refused to worship the pagan gods.
In the Romanian Orthodox calendar there is a Saint Valentine celebrated on February the 16. (Sfantul Valentin 16 februarie). This Saint Valens lived in Caesarea Palestine (or Caesarea Maritima). Valens was martyred during the persecution begun by Diocletian in 303. Another Saint Martyr executed on the same day is Saint Pamphilus - Christian scholar whose most important disciple was Eusebius of Caesarea - for further reading go to GOARCH.
A full list of the saints celebrated on February 16 is available on OrthodoxWIKI.
Martyrs Pamphilus the presbyter, Valens the deacon, Paul, Seleucus, Porphyrius, Julian, Theodulus, Elias, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Samuel and Daniel, at Caesaria in Palestine; Saint Maruthas, Bishop of Martyropolis in Mesopotamia, and the Persians martyred with him; Martyr Romanus of Mount Athos; New-Martyrs Priest Elias and Priest Peter Lagov; Saint Flavian the hermit; Saint Flavian, Archbishop of Antioch; Saint Flavian the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saint Romanos the Younger; Virgin-Martyr Juliana of Naples. Other events: repose of Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow, Apostle to the Altai.

The Roman Catholic Church celebrates on February 14th Saint Valentine. There are three saints - all martyred - named Valentine, Valens or Valentinus in the Catholic calendar. It is said that he was a priest who lived during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II - 3rd century AD. The Emperor outlawed the marriage of young men because he wanted them to join the army and not no be concerned with the daily life of a family. Valentinus continued to perform marriages and defied the decree. The Emperor found put and ordered the execution of Valentine.
It seems that in fact the Catholic Church tried to adapt and adopt the pagan rituals which were still very popular in the early years of Christianity.
It is said that St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers and love. People give presents to the loved ones on this day. "Will you be mt Valentine?" and the handwritten love notes are very popular especially in the western countries and the are becoming increasingly popular with lovers all over the world.
A very interesting article about St. Valentine and the modern celebration of this saint may be found here.
I dare to quote: "And St. Valentine demonstrated this love when he died for his friends, and for his faith in Christ. This is the kind of love that Valentine's Day is really all about. And this is what his Feast Day of Feb. 14 should bring to our minds. May God help us to have that same kind of love for others, and that same kind of commitment and faithfulness to Christ, even in the face of death, until the Lord calls us home."

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin