It’s February 14, Happy Valentine Day! And I am hoping for a lot of clicks on this story. The last time I posted something with a “gay” headline, my clicks went through the roof on that particular day. Yeah, I’m shameless. I work for clicks, the way a sled dog in harness works for biscuits.
And yet today’s post is based on a solid historical piece from my ever-dry Russian newspaper VZGLIAD. This piece, by Alexander Chausov. His piece is entitled:
That Version About the Connection of Saint Valentine With Gay Marriages — Might Have Some Historical Foundations!
Chausov begins with the outrage of Russian conservatives. Orthodox Christians and Family-Values proponents hate the fact that Western holidays are being foisted upon Russia. They are absolutely right: Halloween is a particular outrage. The last thing that Russia needs is children with cavities in their teeth. Valentine Day is also stupid, although the chocolate is good. Unfortunately, Western perverts have tried to make this holiday more about Gay Love than about the chocolate.
However, as Chausov points out, it’s not just Western societies that are hopelessly degenerate from their roots: The annals of Russian Orthodoxy also include a few notable skeletons in the closets.
In recent decades, Valentine Day appeared in Russia as a marketing “calque” borrowed from Western cultures, particularly from America, and targeted specifically to the youth market. One cannot say that this new holiday produced any serious effects or caused anyone any harm — until, more recently, when certain evil people began to associate it with Gay Marriage. Studies were written purporting that Saint Valentine used to conduct gay weddings back in the Middle Ages. Russian conservatives went “Aha!” and saw another example of combined Western religious-political-sexual impositions upon the fluffy-white history of Russian Orthodox Christianity. But the fact is, Saint Valentine is a “combined” Saint – he belongs to both Roman and Orthodox factions of the Christian world, since his sainthood occurred before the Great Schism. Therefore, he cannot be so cavalierly dismissed by members of the Byzantine faction.
Having said that, Chausov continues, nobody really knows when Valentine was canonized, nor even who he was. There were several clerics with that name. For example, there was a Bishop Valentine, who lived in the Italian city of Interamna (modern Terni) in the 3rd century A.D. He was a healer, whose good works converted much of the town’s youth to Christianity; as a result of which he was arrested, tortured, and beheaded by the municipal government. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates this particular martyr on July 30 (Old Style). There are other candidates too, for the post of Saint Valentine, each of which was martyred in some grisly fashion, as was the wont in those times.
Martyrdom aside, nowadays Saint Valentine is best known for his associations with courtship, romance and love. Until recently this was just limited to heterosexual romance. Even little boys and girls as young as five, were encouraged to give each other little heart candies in school. But now scholars and gay activists alike believe, that the real Saint Valentine truly did bless gay unions as well as opposite-sex unions. And that possibly such unions took place even in the Russian wing of the Church. Under the name of “Brother-Bonding”.
And that possibly even Alexander Nevsky himself was no stranger to such… Oh wait, I just checked my watch, I have to rush off now, or I’ll be late for work….!
[to be continued]