Tuesday, 24 August 2010

St. Valentina

No, I did not make a mistake.  It is supposed to be "Valentina" and not "Valentine"! 

St. Valentina is honoured in many of the Orthodox churches.  She, along with Sts. Ennatha and Paula, is commenorated on February 10th each year.  These three young women are known as "virgins and martyrs".

The story goes that in the year 308 during the reign of Emperor Maximian Galerius, these young women refused to deny their Christian faith and paid the ultimate price.  St. Ennatha came from the City of Gaza, St. Valentina was a native of Palestinian Caesarea and St. Paula was from the region of Caesarea. 

St. Ennatha was the first to be brought to trial before Governor Firmilian.  Bravely declaring herself a Christian, she was beaten and suspended from a pillar and scourged.  Next they brought in St. Valentina who had been accused of not worshipping the pagan gods.  She was then led to a temple where she was ordered to make sacrifices to the idol.  Instead, she threw a stone at the idol and then turned her back on it.  She was beaten mercilessly and sentenced to be beheaded along with St. Ennatha and St. Paula.

You may be wondering why I have this sudden interest in an obscure saint of the early church.  Well, I have a new foster child whose name just happens to be Valentina.  She is a wee babe still and lives with her parents in Boliva.  She is a very special baby as she was born with Down Syndrome and I will be helping her parents provide Valentina with the special care and training she will require.  So, I decided it was time to make friends with Valentina's patron saint.

Next, I want to show you a series of photos taken by a scientist in Africa recently.  When I first saw them, I was sure they must somehow be faked images; however, I have checked the various "urban legends" web sites and find nothing that would suggest these pictures are anything other than they appear to be.  These photos are supposed to show that if the big cats are not hungry then they don't kill.  If these scenes are real, they are astounding -- almost like the lion lying down with the lamb!

Here we see a young Impala cut off from the herd by a group of three young Cheetahs.  The people observing this activity (and taking the pictures) assumed the worst was about to happen.  Instead they saw something miraculous.

Here is the poor, frightened Impala being patted by one of the Cheetahs.

Next we see the three Cheetahs just hanging out with their new "friend"!  Is that Cheetah really just licking the Impala's throat? 

Finally, the young Impala actually appears to nuzzle one of the Cheetahs.

I have no idea what happened next as there were no more photos with the article.  I suppose the Cheetahs could have started feeling hungry and took advantage of the situation.  Maybe they decided they had been friendly for long enough and went back to their own games and activities.  I do wonder what happened to the Impala.  If the mother wasn't lurking somewhere nearby, waiting to rescue her baby if possible, then the Impala was certainly "fair game" for any other predator that came along.  While the photos are beautiful, the actual ending to the story might not have been. 

So is life in this fallen world.

May peace be with you all.

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