Valentine the Saint
The legend of St Valentine and who he was in connection with the famous heart dappled holiday has changed over time.
Many with versions varying depending on history’s take. Some say St Valentine (actually known as Valentinus) was actually three different men, who all lived around the same time and died as Martyrs for different offenses. Regardless, the stories around the man (or men) who gave their name to Valentine’s day are steeped in mystery, but gave their lives for valiant causes all the same.
The different backgrounds of the Saints recognized as St Valentine vary vastly.
One of these tells that he lived during the third century in Rome and was a Priest. The Emperor of the time, Claudius II outlawed marriage. Reasoning that single men were better soldiers and therefore need not be hindered by such things. The Valentine of this particular vestige felt it was a foolish decree, and continued to marry lovers despite Claudius’ will. When his defiance was discovered, Valentine was killed for his noble efforts.
Less is known about the Bishop known as St Valentine, but he too was killed by Claudius and many still accredit him with the namesake. Another story tells of Valentine as an aid to Christians seeking escape from Roman prisons. They treated their captives with harsh methods. A popular legend is as a prisoner himself, who falls in love (or in some stories befriends) his jailor’s daughter. After writing her a note signed it “From your Valentine.” This particular piece of the tale became a tradition and grew to be just as much a part of Valentine’s Day as the hearts, candy and cards.
Whoever he was in relation to the renowned holiday we have all come to associate with all things love. His legends and myths prove he was a valiant Saint dedicated to helping others. Valentine’s Day honors his legacy. Whatever that may be, by encouraging people to recognize their loved ones and spread love to others.