Valentine’s Day is synonymous with chocolates, hearts, and love, but what do we know about the man behind the name?
There is some confusion as to the exact identity of Saint Valentine, but he is believed to have been a 3rd century Roman priest and physician. He was martyred by Claudius II for allegedly performing Christian marriage ceremonies. The day he is said to have been beheaded was February 14th, AD 270.
According to legend, it is said that before his death, he wrote a letter to his jailer’s daughter, whom he healed from blindness, and signed it “from your Valentine”. Thus, sparking the start of sending letters on Valentine’s Day.
According to the Catholic Education Resource Center, the custom of showing love on St. Valentine’s Day is a coincidence with the date. “During the Medieval Age, a common belief in England and France was that birds began to pair on Feb. 14.” Famous poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote in his “Parliament of Foules”: “For this was on Seynt Valentyne’s day, When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.” It is from this line that many believe February 14th to be the day dedicated to lovers.
There are approximately a dozen churches in Europe that claim to have parts of his body. The Catholic church does not regulate relics and their validity.
He is the patron saint of love, epileptics and beekeepers.
Whether you celebrate the day or hate it, Saint Valentine is a reminder of love, and points to the embodiment of True Love, Jesus Christ.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13