St. Valentine, who was he?

St. Valentine's Day - February 14, day of love and friendship.

In the 5th century, Christian Pope Gelasius I, forbade a pagan celebration of Lupercalia, celebrating fertility, Spring, with St. Valentine’s Day, honoring St. Valentine of Turni, a Christian Bishop of Rome who was a martyred in 3rd. century for helping those in prison, and marrying couples in secret during the time that Emperor Claudius had forbidden marriage for young soldiers.

There are many Christian martyrs named Valentine, but one of them wrote letters to the daughter of his jailer signed “from your Valentine.”   In any case, it is almost impossible to pinpoint the origin of the name.

Several Christian churches in Europe claim to have relics of St. Valentino martyr, like skulls, crowns and such. Do not confuse St. Valentino with Valentinus (Gnostic) or Valentine of Passau.]

In 14th century England, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem “Parliament of Fowls” referring to a female eagle’s freedom to choose a mate. In this poem, Chaucer refers to the idea that St. Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovers.[1] 

Finally, in 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass-producing valentines, and the rest is history.

Books on St. Valentine you might like to read or gift.

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