200 Couples Cross Their Hearts in Valentine´s Town

TERNI, Italy, FEB. 11, 2001 (Zenit.org).- More than 200 couples promised today to get married this coming year, before the urn containing the relics of the patron of the enamored, which is kept in the Basilica of St. Valentine.

The couples participated in the “Feast of the Promise,” observed during a religious ceremony presided over by Bishop Vincenzo Paglia. Among the participants were a widow and widower who plan to marry.

The couples promised faithfulness in love and received a parchment, a traditional memento of the ceremony. In addition, Bishop Paglia gave all the couples a copy of St. Luke´s Gospel, which, he said, is the highest testimony of love.

Valentine was a bishop of Terni who suffered martyrdom in 268. He has been confused with other martyrs of the same name. The reasons for his being named patron of those in love has also caused confusion.

One legend says St. Valentine was sacrificed because he promoted the marriage of numerous couples, despite the prohibitions of Emperor Claudius II. It seems the Roman leader believed that married soldiers were not as tough as single warriors.