The Legend of Saint Valentinus the Patron Saint of Valentine’s Day


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Saint Valentinus

On February 14, the Valentine’s Day lovers exchange sweets, candy, chocolates, flowers and other gifts all in the name of St. Valentine, a mysterious saint.

Most people in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and a few in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and many countries around the world celebrate the day. However, this centuries-old holiday remains a working day in most of the countries.

February, cherished for centuries as a month for romance contains vestiges of both Christian and pagan Roman traditions. Moreover, no one knows for sure who the real patron saint of the day is. Why? Because the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different martyred saints named Valentinus.

According to the most popular legend, Valentinus was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young soldiers as he reckoned that single men made better soldiers than those married and having wives and children.

Valentinus thought the decree was not just, and he decided to defy the Emperor. He performed marriages for young lovers in secret. Eventually, the Emperor became aware of the marriages performed by the priest, and his ministry among Christians and ordered that Valentinus be put to death.

The legends say that during his imprisonment Valentinus healed the daughter of his jailer named Asterius and converted 46 members of his family to Christianity. He then fell in love with the young girl who visited him during his confinement, and before his execution wrote her a farewell letter and signed it: “From your Valentine.”

Other stories state that Valentinus was condemned to death for attempting to help beaten and tortured Christians escape from Roman prisons.

These murky legends portray Valentinus as a sympathetic, heroic and a romantic person. In the Middle Ages, due to the reputation created as a legendary hero Valentinus became one of the most popular saints in England and France.

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