Every year I like to say that Saint Valentine was given red roses and candy hearts for loving Christ instead of being beaten with clubs, stoned, and beheaded for refusing to deny Christ before the Emperor Claudius. Forget weddings, overpriced greeting cards, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, February 14th is the official feast day in the Anglican and Lutheran Churches. But I don’t want to ruin your romantic meal by reminding you of the religious origins of the holiday. But if you’re into that kind of stuff, and by stuff, I mean old bones and relics…well, it appears ol’ Val is all over the goddamn place. There are no less than ten churches claiming to have St. Valentine-related relics, including Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, which houses his flower crowned skull in a side altar, as well as the Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Prague, where Valentine’s shoulder blade was found in the basement.
The Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin also claims to house his relics (donated to the church in the 19th century by Pope Gregory XVI) as well as small parish churches in the Polish city of Chelmno and the French town of Roquemaure. Another box of bones sat in complete anonymity for nearly a hundred years in Saint Francis Church, in Glasgow’s rundown neighborhood of Gorbals before being moved to the nearby Blessed St. John Duns Scotus, where it has been given a prominent place at the church’s entrance. And of course the Americans have to make their claims with the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine in Missouri, which has not just relics, but also a wax replica of St. Valentine in front of the altar. While you’re getting all romantic with your significant other, please think of all those bones, which were probably not St. Valentine’s, being worshiped and preserved all over the world. Doesn’t that put you in the mood?