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St. Valentine and the Glasgow Connection

14 February is considered to be the most romantic day of the year; the day we celebrate St. Valentine. When we think about romantic destinations to declare undying love, Glasgow might not immediately spring to mind. After all, the ‘’Glasgow kiss’’, also known as a sharp, sudden headbutt to the nose, doesn’t scream ‘’I love you”! But interestingly enough, Glasgow’s Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus in the south end of Glasgow, holds a small wooden box reputed to contain the forearm bone of the patron Saint of love, St. Valentine.

So how did part of the Saint’s body end of in Glasgow? Apparently in 1868, a French family donated some of the relics of Saint Valentine to the Franciscan Catholic Church, and the French monks brought the relic to Glasgow to the Church of St. Francis, as they had been impressed by the faith of the Glaswegians.

Under Emperor Claudius II (214-270 CE), also known as Claudius the Cruel, Christianity was outlawed, including Christian marriages. Valentine, a Christian priest, was beheaded on February 14th, 269 CE, for continuing to marry young couples. It is believed that while in prison he gave a note to his jailer’s blind daughter. She opened the note, and her sight was restored. The note said ‘’from your Valentine’’.

Every year at the Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus, the box containing the relics is dressed in flowers to celebrate the life and sacrifice of the patron saint of lovers. So, if you are looking for a special place to propose on 14 February, keep Glasgow top of mind. The area inside the church, next to where the sacred relics of Saint Valentine are kept, has reportedly become a popular location.

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