The Valentines--martyrs with a
As you know, there is
more to Valentine's Day than giving candy, cards, and flowers to your
The legend of St. Valentine stems from real-life martyrs from the Roman Empire known as
Valentines. It is unsure who was the St. Valentine; there are at least two candidates: One
of them is believed to have been a Roman priest and physician killed in the third century,
during the persecutions of the Emperor Claudius II Gothicus. After his death this
Valentine was apparently buried in the Roman road Via Flaminia. Pope Julius I is said to
have later built a basilica above his grave. A second St. Valentine candidate believed to
be a bishop of Teni who was also executed in Rome.
These mens status comes from legends of harboring Christians from persecution,
curing the blindness of a cell keepers daughter, and conducting marriages while they
were forbidden during times of war. It is perhaps this last repute that made St. Valentine
the patron saint of lovers.