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Important reliquary theca with relics of St Valentine of Rome, Patron of the Courtly Love

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Important reliquary theca with relics of St Valentine of Rome, Patron of the Courtly Love

Attractive large oval glass-fronted brass reliquary theca housing significant and important relic of Saint Valentine of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. Very large (3 cm or 1  1/4 inches long) first-class ex ossibus (of the bone) relic is affixed on a background richly decorated with gilt paper and silk flowers and identified in a fancy cut paper cedula label as Ex Oss S. Valentini Mart. (Of the bone of Saint Valentine, Martyr). On the back, the theca is secured by a seal of red Spanish wax with an imprint of a coat of arms of Cardinal Bernardino (†1807), the Archbishop of Senigallia and an important official of the Vatican Curia. 

Saint Valentine of Rome (†269) (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus) is a widely recognized and very popular 3rd-century Roman saint, commemorated in Christianity on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages associated with a tradition of courtly love.  He was a priest and bishop in the Roman Empire who ministered to persecuted Christians. He was martyred and his body buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome, on February 14, which has been observed as the Feast of Saint Valentine (Saint Valentine's Day) since 496 AD. Relics of him were kept in the Church and Catacombs of San Valentino in Rome, which "remained an important pilgrim site throughout the Middle Ages until the relics of St. Valentine were transferred to the church of Santa Prassede during the pontificate of Nicholas IV". His skull, crowned with flowers, is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. His Feast is commemorated on February 14 (Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran Churches) and July 6 and July 30 (Eastern Orthodox) and he is a Holy Patron of Affianced couples, against fainting, beekeepers, happy marriages, love, plague, and epilepsy.

Additional Info

  • ID#: 196-RSCR-12
  • Size: 160 x 130 mm (6 1/4 x 5 1/4 in)
  • Age: ca. 1790s
  • Origin: Italy
  • Price: Price upon request
  • Orthodox Cross
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