Friday, February 14, 2014

St. Valentine

Saint of Valentine's Day

Although St. Valentine is one of the world's best-known saints because his feast is special to lovers, very little is known about him for certain.

He was from Italy and was martyred along Rome's Flaminian Way. A basilica was built there in 350, but there was already a basilica under his patronage in Interamma [Terni]. He may have been a priest in Rome and later bishop in Terni. In any case, he gave up his life for being a follower of Jesus Christ.

Why is he associated with lovers? Geoffrey Chaucer suggested that birds chose their mates on February 14. Another possibility is that this is the Christian version of the pagan feast of Lupercalia (February 15) when young men drew out the names of young women to date. However the link came about, it was certainly well established in England by the late 15th century.

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