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St. Valentine's relic on display in Rome

2010-02-12

St. Valentine’s day was established as a Catholic feast day by Pope Gelasius I around 498 A.D., but it’s unclear which “Valentine” it reveres.

North of Rome, in the town of Terni sits the Basilica of St. Valentine. The protector of love himself who was bishop of Terni between the 2nd and 3rd centuries, is buried here. The Christian martyr was one of three linked to the Catholic feast day of St. Valentine.

Meanwhile in a small basilica in Rome, another piece of St. Valentine sits inside. To many St. Maria in Cosmedin is known as the site for the “Mouth of Truth” but the head of St. Valentine is the church’s most enshrined relic. Placed in a small glass reliquary with flowers the skull attracts many visitors every year.

Some suggest the real St. Valentine was the Roman priest, who was jailed for performing marriages at a time when it was illegal to wed.

Whatever the true story is, love ones celebrate true love every year on February 14th.

MC