Who was St. Valentine?

 

We all know the contemporary and cultural references for Valentine’s Day. But do we know the origins?

St. Valentine is a 3rd-century Roman saint. He is commemorated on February 14 as that was the date of his execution in 269 A.D.

Different church traditions recognize or do not recognize Valentine. But who was he?

As the story is told in at least one version, Valintinus was arrested and imprisoned for marrying Christian couples in a time in the Roman Empire when helping Christians was considered a crime. Other stories say that he defied the order of the emperor and secretly married couples so that husbands wouldn’t have to go to war.

The celebration of St. Valentine’s Day also has many possible origins. In 14th Century England, Geoffrey Chaucer was among those whose writings associated February 14 with romantic love. During the Middle Ages, it was believed that birds paired in mid-February. This became associated with Valentine’s romance.

Just as St. Nicholas has morphed into the modern day versions of Santa Claus, St. Valentine probably never expected that he would be remembered with chocolates and flowers.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

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