Recent Posts

Feb 14, 2010

Who was Saint Valentine?

Several tales have taken root as the cultural heart of Valentine's Day, most of which stem from the patron Saint Valentine.

One legend describes a priest named Valentine who lived during the third century in Rome. The Roman Emperor Claudius II was building up a military at the time and supposedly thought single men would make better soldiers. To build a stronger army, the emperor outlawed marriage for young men. Feeling this sweetheart ban was unjust, Valentine apparently performed secret marriage ceremonies. When found out, legend has it the love priest was put to death.

A slight twist to the tragic love story has the priest or bishop being publicly beheaded for refusing to denounce the name of Christ. His feast day was set as Feb. 14 by the Church to honor his heroic life.

Valentine's name was not associated with romantic and courtly love until the 14th century, when Geoffrey Chaucer incorporated St. Valentine’s Day into his love poem "The Parliament of Fowls," according to Philip Florio, assistant to the vice president of student life at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

The ensuing Valentine's Day has been linked with heroism and romantic love for centuries. Flowers, candies and syrupy-sweet cards help men and women profess their love for one another.


Post a Comment