Valentine’s Day, Saint Valentine’s Day or The Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated on the 14th February. It is a day to celebrate love and and is observed by giving flowers; particularly roses, chocolates, gifts, and cards. According to the Greeting Card Association nearly 160 million Valentines cards are sent every year.
The Huffington Post estimated that in 2012 the average American would spend $123.06 dollar per person on Valentine’s Day, twice the amount spent on Halloween. This average will probably rise this year.
But who was Saint Valentine? What is the mystery surrounding Saint Valentine? Why is he the Patron Saint of love?
All will be revealed.
The name Valentine derives from the word Valens which in Latin means Strong, healthy, vigorous.
There are three Saint Valentines or rather Valentinus, that have connections with the 14th February. One a Roman priest, one the Bishop of Iteramna, now know as Terni in Italy and another who was martyred in the Roman Province of Africa; now known as Tunisia. Very little is know about this St.Valentine.
Thare are two stories and also two Saint Valentine.
Saint Valentine lived and was martyred in the third century. However there are two conflicting stories; who is the Saint Valentine that is celebrated by the Feast of Saint Valentine?
The most popular belief is that Saint Valentine was a Roman priest, he was executed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius II.
Claudius II was fighting many wars and considered single men the best soldiers. He thought that by being married the men would not fight well; they would be afraid to die as they would be considering their wives and children. Polygamy ( from the Greek words Many and Wedding) was very commonplace in Roman times, some of Claudius’s soldier had more than one wife. He passed a law forbidding all marriages.
Many Romans were not happy with being forbidden to marry, and there were also those who were attracted to becoming Christians. The Christians were persecuted by Claudius at this time and helping them was also a crime.
In secret Valentine carried out Christian ceremonies, including marriages of Christians and Romans, including Soldiers. This however did not stay a secret, he was discovered conducting a marriage ceremony and was arrested and imprisoned.
Emperor Claudius was said to have taken a liking to Valentine and tried to persuade him to become a Pagan. Valentine refused and tried to convert the emperor to Christianity this was not taken very lightly, Valentine was sentenced to death. He was beaten with stones and clubs which failed to kill him, and so he was beheaded on the 14th February by the Via Flaminia near Rome.
Another story involves another Saint Valentine the Bishop of Interamna (Terni) He was under the house arrest of Judge Asterius for practicing Christianity. The Judge was drawn into a conversation by the the Bishop about the validity of Christianity. The Judge decided to test Valentine and stated that if he could restore the sight of his adopted daughter he would do anything Valentine asked of him.
The Judge’s daughter was brought before Valentine he laid his hands upon her and prayed, and her sight was restored. Judge Asterius kept his word; he would do anything Valentine asked of him. Valentine asked him to fast for three days and be baptised a Christian. Judge Asterius became a Christian along with the rest of his family, he also freed all of the Christians imprisoned by his authority.
Valentine was arrested at a later date, and sent Rome for continuing to convert Romans to Christians and was brought before the Roman Emperor Aurelia. Valentine refused to renounce his faith and was sentenced to death by beheading. The night before Valentine was to be beheaded, he was rumored to have sent a note to the daughter of Judge Asterius who he loved. He asked her to remain near to God and to be thankful for the healing miracle of her restored sight. The note was signed “By Your Valentine”
This Saint Valentine was also executed on the 14th February by the Via Flaminia.
Both of stories could be about the same Saint Valentine, but they were at different times and they were buried in difference locations along the Via Flaminia.
Do you love to celebrate Valentine’ Day? or are you sceptical and believe it is an excuse for shops to make more money.