The little-known Scottish church believed to house St Valentine’s bones

February 14 is the day we celebrate one of the world’s most famous saints.

The most romantic day of the year conjures up images of red roses, poems, greeting cards and of course date nights, but it’s also dedicated to the saint after whom it is named.

Much like Christmas, it has become a heavily commercialized holiday, but St. Valentine’s Day was traditionally observed to honor this martyr who died in the third century AD.

Although the origins of this famous religious figure and his connection to love are shrouded in mystery, did you know that he has ties to Scotland?

Like our patron saint, some of Valentine’s remains were said to have been brought here.

Blessed John Duns Scot Church in Glasgow

Scotland Now’s best stories of the week

Although his flower-crowned skull is famous in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin in Rome, some of his relics are also believed to be kept in a small box in a church in south Glasgow.

Located across the River Clyde from the town centre, the Church of Blessed John Duns Scotus on Ballater Street in the Gorbals is said to contain pieces of his forearm bones.

Incredibly, the bones were only “rediscovered” in 1999, after being kept in a cardboard box, above a cupboard, for six years.

The story goes that they were brought to the city by Franciscan monks, who were impressed by the piety of the local people, after being donated by a wealthy French family, and were eventually housed in the Church of St. -François in the 1860s.

However, they were later moved to another church in the Gorbals area in the early 90s before being rediscovered and brought to Blessed St John Duns Scotus Church.

Every year on Valentine’s Day, the wooden box, which has gold-plated letters reading “Corpus Valentini Martyris” (the body of martyr Valentin) is decorated with flowers every year.

Prayers are then said “for those in love and not in love”, as well as for those experiencing problems in their relationships or loss.

Although tourists flock to Dublin’s Whitefriars Church each Valentine’s Day to visit his remains, the Scottish nunnery claims to have a letter kept in its archives which they claim is authorization that their relic is indeed the true.

Don’t miss the best cultural and heritage stories from across Scotland. Sign up for our bi-weekly Scotland Now newsletter here.

Martha J. Finley