Valentinus was martyred on February 14 late in the third century A.D. this much we know. But when it comes to details about the life of St. Valentine, legend often supersedes fact.
As you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, find out the truth about the man for whom the day is named, as well as some other intriguing facts about history’s most romantic holiday.
Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270.
However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.”
One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed.
A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome.
Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person.
Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.
The saint we celebrate on Valentine’s Day is known officially as St. Valentine of Rome in order to differentiate him from the dozen or so other Valentines on the list.
Because “Valentinus”—from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful—was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D., several martyrs over the centuries have carried this name.
The official Roman Catholic roster of saints shows about a dozen who were named Valentine or some variation thereof.
The most recently beatified Valentine is St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa, a Spaniard of the Dominican order who traveled to Vietnam, where he served as bishop until his beheading in 1861.
Pope John Paul II canonized Berrio-Ochoa in 1988. There was even a Pope Valentine, though little is known about him except that he served a mere 40 days around A.D. 827.
Saints are certainly expected to keep busy in the afterlife. Their holy duties include interceding in earthly affairs and entertaining petitions from living souls. In this respect, St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities.
People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling.
As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.
This year’s celebration come at the time the Catholic Church all over the world are celebrating Ash Wednesday; a period to mark the 40 days fast according to the doctrine of the Church.
Roman Catholics and followers of other Christian denominations who observe Ash Wednesday. How can one simultaneously mark a solemn day when foreheads are tapped with a symbol of mortality as a call tohumility and repentance, while celebrating one that glorifies the kisses and champagne of romantic love?
Around the country, Roman Catholic bishops have been issuing reminders to parishioners that the holy obligations of Ash Wednesday still apply. They include receiving ashes, abstaining from meat and fasting — which Catholics define as eating one normal meal and two small meals that don’t add up to the normal meal in quantity.
“Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are the only two days of the whole year on which fasting and abstinence are required,” Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo told parishioners in a video posted online Friday. “Those who are accustomed to celebrating Valentine’s Day might do so, perhaps, the day before. Join it up with Mardi Gras!”
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, took a similarly somber approach, despite his reputation as perhaps the most jovial of American bishops.
Valentine showed love and his life and legacy tells us that we should show love. Many Youths today find it worthy to hide behind Vals day celebration to try to fornicate.
Vals day is not for fornication but rather stretch a helping hand to the orphans, those in need and show love to them.
This when you do, makes you walk on the path of life as walking with Christ in your life.
Let us try and use this period of love to show love to the less privilege in the society and not to go about committing sin on the temple of God.