Hold onto your pink teddy bear and open up your box of mystery chocolates because I have an interesting Valentine’s Day story for you!
The actual saint that kicked off this entire multi-billion dollar holiday is St. Valentine and his remains are indeed located in Dublin.
I read about this link between Valentine’s Day and Ireland on a site called Irish Customs and Culture. You’ll have to read the full account yourself because it is quite detailed. And we all know digging into the minutiae, as important as it may be, is not my love language. That’s why there are experts.
Now, as I understand the story…
The remains were a gift. A gift!
I think I’d rather get the pink carnations.
Valentine is thought to have died around 270 AD and his remains were buried in Rome. Over the course of 1,500 years many different churches were built over the site of his grave. In the 1800s, while once again doing construction, they found him!
Not only did they find St. Valentine’s remains, but also a vial tinged with his blood.
In 1835 an Irish Carmelite named John Spratt visited Rome. Carmelites are a Roman Catholic religious order. Spratt was know for his preaching style and many came to hear him speak. During his visit he was given several ‘tokens of esteem’ by the Roman elite. One of these tokens was the remains of St. Valentine, which were given to John Spratt by Pope Gregory XVI.
The saint’s remains arrived at Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin on November 10, 1836. In a story familiar to poor St. Valentine, his remains went into storage after John Spratt died. Thank goodness the Church does a lot of remodeling though! His remains were brought out of storage during a renovation in the 1950s and 1960s.
(image of St. Valentine Shrine: White Friar Church)
St. Valentine now has a permanent shrine in Whitefriar Street Church and is visited by many tourists and those about to be married- especially around Valentine’s Day.
You can learn more about the church and their place in history here.
I hope you enjoyed this historical take on Valentine’s Day. Got any chocolates left? Not those weird ones…the caramel ones, please. Thanks so much!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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