We all know the name, but who is the Saint behind it all? Well, we’ve got the low down on him. He was a real person for starters and a real Saint too. In fact he is known to be the Patron Saint of affianced couples, bee keepers, engaged couples, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people (so quite the selection!)
St. Valentine’s life wasn’t always easy though…
He was a third-century Roman Saint, with little officially known about him or his life. One account we have of him is that, at one point, he was the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia (no not that one!) and Amelia. Whilst on house arrest with Judge Asterius, he defended the person of Jesus Christ. As a result of this, the Judge put his faith to the test and asked him to restore his blind daughter’s sight. Well, Valentine placed his hands on the girl’s eyes and her sight was restored!
After this, the Judge was humbled and broke all the idols within his home, fasted for three days in repentance and became baptized, along with all his family and then freed all his other Christian inmates. But our Valentine was arrested again for continuing to tell people about Christianity and was eventually sent to Rome where Emperor Cladius Gothicus imprisoned him for marrying Christian couples and helping those who were being persecuted for their Christian faith. These were both considered pretty major crimes at the time.
When Valentine pleaded with Claudius about Christianity, he became enraged, sentencing V to be beaten with clubs and beheaded if he didn’t renounce his faith. Well V refused to renounce his faith in Christ and was therefore executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14. There are other stories about V’s arrest being due to secretly marrying couples so that the husbands didn’t have to go away to war and being imprisoned for refusing to sacrifice to idols. This account in particular tells of how V then healed the jailer’s daughter and on the day of his execution left her a note signed ‘Your Valentine’.
I know, this all sounds very dark and sad and you may wonder how it got from this to what we celebrate today. Well, at its very core, the account(s) of St. Valentine portrays a man whose love and devotion to his God was the most important thing to him, something he went to extreme lengths and risk to share with others and even valued more than his own life. He was also a man who celebrated the act of love, in marrying many young couples and serving others out of love for them. It has evolved over the years into what we now know, but it is widely celebrated as a day of love (inspiring our Hearts range), devotion (inspiring our Infinity range) and romance (inspiring our Messages of Love range) because of this great man.
Happy St.Valentine’s Day to you and those you love 💕 x