Dean of St. Valentine Parish Talks about Saint, Holiday, Valentines and Love

On Saturday, February, 14th the Catholic world celebrates St. Valentine’s Day, the patron of all lovers. Today this holiday became very popular among the people of other confessions and non-believers who spend enormous sums of money on flowers, confectionery, valentines and other gifts to their beloved ones. At the same time, the true meaning of the holiday fades away.

St. Valentine, his concept of love and commercialisation of the holiday KRYNICA.INFO discusses with the dean of a sole Belarusian Catholic parish of St. Valentine – father Andery Kviatinsky of capuchin order.

 – Who was St. Valentin? What do we know about him?

– He was a bishop living the 3rd century. There are several legends about him. According to my favourite one, He was bishop of Terni, Italy. The Roman emperor decreed a law forbidding young people to marry because he wanted them to participate in numerous military campaigns. But St. Valentine married people secretly. For this he died as a martyr, because he protected the Gospel of love. Being in prison, St. Valentine made many miracles. For example, he cured a daughter of one of his  jailers. There is also evidence of bishop curing people suffering from epilepsy.

– What is your attitude towards commercialisation of St. Valentine’s Day?

– My attitude towards this trend is negative, but the idea of St. Valentine being the patron of lovers is not bad. And he married the lovers is a sign of God blessing love. On the other hand, today, especially after the sexual revolution, when concept of love degraded to the base instincts. And quite often it is interpreted as a form of eroticism. And all these paper hearts turn the concept of love into a cliche.



– How do you understand the true meaning of the holiday?

– St. Valentine taught us, while being a bishop, being a Christian, that love between the man and the woman reveals through the prism of the Gospel, of the Christ’s love to the Church. Apostle Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church”. There are many concepts of love in the world and St. Valentine wants to show us love as Crist had shown before. In this case love will be safe, truly fruitful, will lead people to happiness. The distorted concepts of love will sooner or later lead people to disappointment, in the worst case – misfortune. That is why we must pay attention to what Valentine tells about love as a Christian, as a priest.

– What way of celebrating this holiday would you recommend?

– I think that one must go with his or her wife or husband to the church. For the spouses it is a good opportunity to decalir to each other their feelings, to repeat before God and the altar the marital vows, the vows of fidelity and devotion.

– Did people come to marry deliberately in your parish?

– No, there had not been such cases yet. Our parish is not actually well-known. But it would be nie if people started to come. Nevertheless, a tradition for newlywed established in Smolevichi to bring flowers not to the Lenin’s statue, but to the St. Valentine’s on the church premises.

This Saturday we will pray for people who are in search of their life companion – husabnd or a wife. The guests from the other parishes and the friends of the parish are invited. After Mass a festivity will be held with an entertainment program.

Nadzeya Hatsak