Pilgrims and lovers visit bones of St Valentine in Glasgow church

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The word “romance” is not typically associated with Glasgow, but the city claims to be home to some of the remains of the patron saint of lovers.

The forearm of St Valentine is claimed to be kept in a chest at the Blessed John Duns Scotus Catholic church in the Gorbals.

Every year on February 14, the casket is decorated with flowers to commemorate his life and a mass is also held.

It is thought the bones came to be in Glasgow after they were donated by a wealthy French family in 1868.

St Valentine’s Day
Visitor Yuki Fan holds a rose beside the chest containing bones belonging to St Valentine at the Blessed John Duns Scotus church in the Gorbals, Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The bones were then moved to a church in Ballater Street and then to Blessed John Duns Scotus, where they remain today.

Lovers often make a pilgrimage to the spot and, on occasion, there have been proposals at the church.

Glasgow is one of several European cities claiming to host some remains of St Valentine. His skull is said to be in the Basilica Di Santa Maria in Rome with other remains said to be held at churches including Dublin, Prague and Madrid.

February 14 was made a Catholic feast day by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD in honour of Valentine’s martyrdom.

He was said to have broken Roman law to conduct marriages in secret for persecuted Christians and was jailed.

When he refused to renounce his faith, he was executed on February 14, in the year 270AD.

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