Today is February 15, the day after Valentine Day. Since American commercialized holidays have conquered the entire world — just like Roman colosseums and bullfighting, back in their day — then I assume — and it doesn’t matter in which part of the world you live — that you are groggily recovering from yesterday’s chocolate and pollen-fueled orgies.
Therefore it is still timely and almost like breaking news, to continue with this startling expose from the Russian press, namely this piece, by Alexander Chausov. Who is attempting to show, to an incredulous world, that medieval Catholic monks and saints may have participated in same-sex unions, back in the day, and yea under the aegis of Saint Valentine himself. I know that’s a shocker, and bound to offend the pious folk. But the truth must be told, regardless of the consequences!
Where we left off, Chausov had pointed out, that nobody is sure of Valentine’s actual identity, although there are several candidates, all of them brutally martyred for their Christian beliefs and practices. In 1260 a bestselling book was published called the “Golden Legend” (Legenda Aurea) The author, Jacobus Voragine compiled a collection of hagiographies, including a life of Saint Valentine. Chausov claims that the “Legenda” secured a reputation for Valentine of being some kind of patron of lovers. However, I googled the “Legenda”, and I don’t really see any romanntic subplot in Valentine’s story. Unless Valentine was secretly dating the provost’s blind daughter?
Valentine is as much to say as containing valour that is perseverant in great holiness. Valentine is said also as a valiant knight, for he was a right noble knight of God, and the knight is said valiant that fleeth not, and smiteth and defendeth valiantly and overcometh much puissantly. And so S. Valentine withdrew him not from his martyrdom in fleeing, he smote in destroying the idols, he defended the faith, he overcame in suffering.
Of S. Valentine the Martyr.
S. Valentine, friend of our Lord and priest of great authority, was at Rome. It happed that Claudius the emperor made him to come tofore him and said to him in demanding: What thing is that which I have heard of thee, Valentine? Why wilt thou not abide in our amity, and worship the idols and renounce the vain opinion of thy creance? S. Valentine answered him: If thou hadst very knowledge of the grace of Jesu Christ thou shouldest not say this that thou sayest, but shouldest reny the idols and worship very God. Then said to S. Valentine a prince which was of the council of the emperor: What wilt thou say of our gods and of their holy life? And S. Valentine answered: I say none other thing of them but that they were men mortal and mechant and full of all ordure and evil. Then said Claudius the emperor: If Jesu Christ be God verily, wherefore sayst thou not the truth? And S. Valentine said: Certainly Jesu Christ is only very God, and if thou believe in him, verily thy soul shall be saved, thy realm shall multiply, and he shall give to thee alway victory of thine enemies. Then Claudius turned him unto all them that were there, and said to them: Lords, Romans, hear ye how wisely and reasonably this man speaketh? Anon the provost of the city said: The emperor is deceived and betrayed, how may we leave that which we have holden and been accustomed to hold sith our infancy? With these words the emperor turned and changed his courage, and S. Valentine was delivered in the keeping of the provost.
When S. Valentine was brought in an house in prison, then he prayed to God, saying: Lord Jesu Christ very God, which art very light, enlumine this house in such wise that they that dwell therein may know thee to be very God. And the provost said: I marvel me that thou sayest that thy God is very light, and nevertheless, if he may make my daughter to hear and see, which long time hath been blind, I shall do all that thou commandest me, and shall believe in thy God. S. Valentine anon put him in prayers, and by his prayers the daughter of the provost received again her sight, and anon all they of the the house were converted. After, the emperor did do smite off the head of S. Valentine, the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty. Then let us pray to S. Valentine that he get us pardon of our sins. Amen.
Like I said, there isn’t really much about romance in this. And it seems an act of sheer ingratitude that Valentine had his head sheared off right after curing the provost’s daughter.
Be that as it may, Chausov next regales us with a history of pastoral sex holidays of ancient Rome, such as the Lupercalia. In which people dressed up like wolves, lashed each other with thongs, and then engaged in wild sex orgies. In order to increase fertility of plants, animals, and humans alike. According to wiki, the Roman festival was known as “Februa“, which is connected to the word “fever” and also the word “fertile”. The odd connection there being that people sweated in bathhouses, lashed themselves (or got lashed), and purged themselves, in order to become more pure and more fertile (modern medicine notwithstanding, which would frown upon such practices). And, long story short, this is where we get the month of February, and why February is the month when we celebrate our modern fertility rituals, involving much sweeter things nowadays, such as chocolates and flowers. Because in the year 494 A.D. Pope Gelasius I decided to ban Lupercalia, but had to replace it with something more wholesome, involving purely Christian love.
But What About The Gays?
But what does this have to do with the Gays? Homosexuals, by nature, being infertile couples. Well, we’re getting to that, but once again, I am running out of time….
[to be continued]