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james tissot a little



What is VALENTINE's Day ?
Who celebrate this day ?
Origins of Valentine's Day:
A Pagan Festival in
February While some believe that
Valentine's Day is celebrated in
the middle of February to
commemorate the anniversary
of Valentine's death or burial--
which probably occurred around A.D. 270--others claim that the
Christian church may have
decided to place St. Valentine's
feast day in the middle of
February in an effort to
"Christianize" the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
Celebrated at the ides of
February, or February 15,
Lupercalia was a fertility festival
dedicated to Faunus, the Roman
god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus
and Remus. To begin the festival, members
of the Luperci, an order of
Roman priests, would gather at
a sacred cave where the
infants Romulus and Remus, the
founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for
by a she-wolf or lupa. The
priests would sacrifice a goat,
for fertility, and a dog, for
purification. They would then
strip the goat's hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial
blood and take to the streets,
gently slapping both women and
crop fields with the goat hide.
Far from being fearful, Roman
women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was
believed to make them more
fertile in the coming year. Later
in the day, according to legend,
all the young women in the city
would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would
each choose a name and
become paired for the year
with his chosen woman. These
matches often ended in
English eighteenth-century
antiquarians Alban Butler and
Francis Douce, noting the obscurity of Saint Valentine's
identity, suggested that
Valentine's Day was created as
an attempt to supersede the
pagan holiday of Lupercalia. This
idea has lately been contested by Professor Jack Oruch of the
University of Kansas. Many of
the current legends that
characterise Saint Valentine
were invented in the
fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and
his circle, when the feast
day of February 14 first
became associated with romantic
love.[12] While a website of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia and other sources give
different lists of
Saints Valentine, the Catholic
Church's official list of
recognized saints, the Roman
Martyrology lists seven: a martyr (Roman priest or Terni
bishop?) buried on the Via
Flaminia (February 14); a priest
from Viterbo (November 3); a
bishop from Raetia who died in
about 450 (January 7); a fifth- century priest and hermit (July
4); a Spanish hermit who died in
about 715 (October 25);
Valentine Berrio Ochoa,
martyred in 1861 (November
24); and Valentine Jaunzarás Gómez, martyred in 1936
(September 18).[13]
Christian persecution
of paganism under
Theodosius I TheChristian
persecution of paganism under
Theodosius I began in 381, after
the first couple of years his reign in the Eastern Roman
Empire. In the 380s, Theodosius I
reiterated Constantine's ban on
Pagan sacrifice, prohibited
haruspicy on pain of death,
pioneered the criminalization of Magistrates who did not
enforce anti-Pagan laws, broke
up some pagan associations and
destroyed Pagan temples.
Between 389-391 he emanated
the infamous "Theodosian decrees," which establed a
practical ban on paganism;[1]
visits to the temples were
forbidden,[2][3] remaining Pagan
holidays abolished, the eternal
fire in the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum extinguished,
the Vestal Virgins disbanded,
auspices and witchcrafting
punished. Theodosian refused to
restore the Altar of Victory in
the Senate House, as asked by Pagan Senators. In 392 he
became emperor of
the whole empire (the last one
to do so). From this moment till
the end of his reign in 395,
while Pagans remained outspoken in their demands for
toleration,[4][5] he authorized or
participated in the
destruction of many temples,
holy sites, images and objects
of piety throughout the empire. [6][7][8][9][10] participated in
actions by Christians against
major Pagan sites.[11] He issued
a comprehensive law that
prohibited any Pagan ritual
even within the privacy of one's home,[12] and was particularly
oppressive of Manicheans.[13]
Paganism was now proscribed, a
"religio illicita".[14] He is likely to
have suppressed the Ancient
Olympic Games, whose last record of celebration is from
393.[15] Initial tolerance
(379-381) Theodosius I, who
initially now reigning in the East,
had been
relatively tolerant towards Pagans in the early part of his
reign.[16] He is known to have
appointed various Pagans to
office in the earlier part of his
reign. For example, he appointed
the Pagan Tatianus as the praetorian prefect of Egypt.[17]
For the first part of his rule,
Theodosius seems to have
ignored the semi-official
standing of the Christian
bishops; in fact he had voiced his support for the preservation
of temples or
pagan statues as useful public
buildings. In his early reign,
Theodosius was fairly tolerant
of the pagans, for he needed the support of the influential
pagan ruling class. However he
would in time stamp out the
last vestiges of paganism with
great severity.[18] Theodosius I's
relative tolerance for other religions is also
indicated by his later order (in
388) for the reconstruction of
a Jewish synagogue at Callicinum
in Mesopotamia[19] Persecution
First attempts to inhibit paganism (381-388) His first
attempt to inhibit
paganism was in 381 when he
reiterated Constantine's ban on
sacrifice. In 384 he prohibited
haruspicy on pain of death, and unlike earlier anti-pagan
prohibitions, he made non-
enforcement of the law, by
Magistrates, into a crime itself.
Both Theodosius and Valentinian
II formally recognized Maximus in the year 384. For a time, the
Pagans enjoyed religious liberty
once again and many
distinguished Pagans rose to
important offices in the state.
[20] The fact that the temples continued to be cared for and
that Pagan festivals continued
to be celebrated is indicated by
a law of 386, which declared
that care for the temples and
festivals were the exclusive prerogative of the Pagans.[21]
This law also confirms the right
of the priests to perform the
traditional Pagan rites of the
temples. In the year 387,
Theodosius declared war on Maximus after Maximus had
driven Valentinian II out of Italy.
Maximus was defeated and
executed and the anti-Pagan
regulations of Gratian were
apparently reinstated by Valentinian II. In 388 he sent a
prefect to
Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor
with the aim of breaking up
pagan associations and the
destruction of their temples. The Serapeum at Alexandria was
destroyed during this campaign.
[22] Theodosian decrees
(389-391) In a series of decrees
called the
"Theodosian decrees" he progressively declared that
those Pagan feasts that had
not yet been rendered Christian
ones were now to be workdays
(in 389). In 391, he reiterated
the ban of blood sacrifice and decreed
"no one is to go to the
sanctuaries, walk through the
temples, or raise his eyes to
statues created by the labor of
man"[2] (decree "Nemo se hostiis polluat", Codex Theodosianus
xvi.10.10). Also in the year 391,
Valentinian II which was emperor
in the West under the aegis of
Theodosius, under the advice of
Ambrose issued a law that not only prohibited sacrifices but
also forbade anyone from
visiting the temples.[3] This again
caused turbulence in the
West. Valentinian II quickly
followed this law with a second one, which declared that Pagan
temples were to be closed, a
law that was viewed as
practically outlawing Paganism.[1]
Saint Ambrose and Emperor
Theodosius, Anthony van Dyck. The temples that were thus
closed could be declared
"abandoned", as Bishop
Theophilus of Alexandria
immediately noted in applying
for permission to demolish a site and cover it with a Christian
church, an act that must have
received general sanction, for
mithraea forming crypts of
churches, and temples forming
the foundations of 5th century churches appear throughout
the former Roman Empire. By
decree in 391, Theodosius
ended the subsidies that had
still trickled to some remnants
of Greco-Roman civic Paganism too. The eternal fire in the
Temple of Vesta in the Roman
Forum was extinguished, and the
Vestal Virgins were disbanded.
Taking the auspices and
practicing witchcraft were to be punished. Pagan members
of the Senate in Rome appealed
to him to restore the Altar of
Victory in the Senate House; he
refused. The apparent change of
policy that resulted in the "Theodosian
decrees" has often been
credited to the increased
influence of Ambrose, bishop of
Milan. In 390 Ambrose had
excommunicated Theodosius, thereafter he had greater
influence with a penitent
Theodosius.[9]The excomunication
was due to Theodosius orders
which resulted in the massacre
of 7,000 inhabitants of Thessalonica,[23] in response to
the assassination of his military
governor stationed in the city,
and that Theodosius performed
several months of public
penance. Some modern historians question the consequences of
the laws against pagans.[24] The
specifics of the decrees were
superficially limited in scope,
specific measures in response to
various petitions from Christians throughout his administration
[citation needed]. In the year
391 in Alexandria in
the wake of the great anti-
pagan riots "busts of Serapis
which stood in the walls, vestibules, doorways and
windows of every house were all
torn out and annihilated...,
and in their place the sign of
the Lord's cross was painted in
the ...
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