It seems research into Catholic history tells us there were a number of early Christian martyrs who were called Valentinus or a name close to Valentine and at least 3 were recognized by the Catholic Church as saints.
The most popular version occurs in about AD 269, a story about a Roman priest, Valentine who defied the Great Emperor Claudius by performing marriage celebrations for the Roman soldiers. Now you wouldn't think that would cause a fuss, but Claudius had the opinion that single men were more likely to join the army and banned marriages of his soldiers.
Well, this Priest had other ideas about that and went ahead and married them anyway. Naturally he was imprisoned for his defiance. But what really got him into trouble was when Emperor Claudius came to have a chat with him and tried to talk sense to get him to give up this silly fad of Christianity but Valentine turned the conversation around and tried to convert the Emperor instead!
It seems while he was in jail, he performed a miracle on the jailer's blind daughter and healed her, which led to the conversion of all 44 of the jailer's household and slaves. The legend goes that when Valentine was about to be sent to his execution, he wrote to this girl signing it "From your Valentine", a phrase which is still used today.
Isn't that a lovely legend?
History tells us there was a Saint Valentine who was the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) who was martyred by Emperor Aurelian in AD 197.
...and yet another Valentinus who was martyred in Africa.
What is the history about the date?
It seems the Catholic Church found that all these Valentines appeared to died for the cause on ....would you believe...February 14.
and as a result February 14 was designated as Saint Valentines Day - an official Saints Feast Day.
There's more about the history of Valentines Day such as the link to the original pagan festivals. Please click on the link to read more.
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