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The True Origin of Saint Valentine

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The True Origin of Saint Valentine


With the coming of another February 14th, and another occurrence of the commercialized, materialistic, and secularized Valentine’s Day which symbolizes romantic endeavors, comes another time at which the origins of it are essential to understand. It is now more important than ever to respect the traditions and history of Saint Valentine, so as to not misunderstand this holiday.

Historical accounts of Saint Valentine of Rome say that he was an ordained Catholic priest and later bishop. He was a man who was scourged, imprisoned, and then beheaded under the Roman emperor Claudius II. This made him a martyr of the Catholic faith. 

He was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969; however, the Catholic Church still recognizes him as a saint as he is still on the Roman Martyrology for February 14th. St. Valentine is the patron saint of engaged couples, betrothed couples, and engaged couples. He is also the saint of fainting, greetings, protection against kidney disease, beekeepers, and epilepsy.

Photo by Danielle Ferebee

Saint Valentine also has a novena (nine days of successive prayer) which stretches from February 5th to February 14th. Praying to saints is considered to be an intercessory prayer, this relates to the church doctrine of the Communion of Saints. This communion is where the saints intercede in the prayer to God.

St. Valentine’s Feast Day is on February 14th, which is thought to be overlapping with the mate pairing of birds— according to a poem written by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. This likely resulted in how the date became associated with devotional love as we know it today. Whether this love is expressed through Valentine’s cards, like the ones we exchanged when we were little, or through other mediums such as gifts is now up to lovers themselves!

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