The historical archives speak of at least three different individuals known as Valentine’s Day and associated with the celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14.
Some scholars even speak of the presence of up to seven Saint Valentines, all of whom lived in the third century and apparently died on February 14. The legends of three saints who were martyred for their faith and have been recognized by the Catholic Church are discussed here. Some scholars say that these saints were not separate individuals and are likely to be one and the same. Since these saints lived during the reign of the same Roman emperor and are believed to have died on the same day, this assumption seems to have some validity.
About Saint Valentine of Rome – Legend I
It is said that one of the most popular Valentines associated with Valentine’s Day lived in Rome when the country was under the reign of Emperor Claudius II. It is said that Emperor Claudius was a hard-hearted king who continually confronted Rome in bloody battles. But to keep fighting, I needed to keep recruiting soldiers. However, to his disappointment, Claudio discovered that the men were not willing to join the army because of their bond with their wives and families. To get rid of the problem, Claudio passed an insensitive decree that prohibited commitments and marriages in Rome. He also said that any priest who married a young couple would be executed.
Young men and women found a savior on Valentine’s Day or Valentinus, a romantic priest at heart. Even at the cost of his life, Valentine opposed the unjustified order and secretly arranged marriages with the help of St. Marius. When Claudius finally learned of Valentine’s challenge, he was brutally beaten and imprisoned. Later, Valentine was executed on February 14, around 270 AD. For his martyrdom and service to lovers, Valentine was named saint after his death.
In the Middle Ages, Valentine had become the patron saint of love and lovers in England and France. Then, when Pope Gelasius decided to end the pagan celebrations of the Feast of Lupercalia, he declared in 498 AD that February 14 would be celebrated as Valentine’s Day. Since then, the lovers began to express their love on the Valentine’s day of martyrdom.
About Valentine of Rome – Legend II
According to another popular legend related to Valentine’s Day, a saint named Valentine was a primitive Christian in Rome who loved children very much. However, at that time, Rome was not in favor of Christianity and even persecuted Christians to ensure that Rome remains free of followers of the Christian faith. Despite this law, St. Valentine continued to practice Christianity and refused to worship the Roman gods. When Emperor Claudius learned of this challenge, he put Valentine in a rigorous prison for a year. It is said that when Valentine was in prison, young children began to feel sad because they missed Valentine very much. They even used to throw amorous notes and flowers from the bars of the prison window.
Some historians believe that Valentine was executed because he tried to help some Christian prisoners escape from prison as they were being mistreated. Some also believe that, because of his good behavior, Claudio gave Valentine a chance to change his faith. But Valentine not only refused, but he tried to convert Claudius to Christianity. This enraged Claudio and finally approved orders for his execution. Valentine was beheaded on February 14, 269 d. C. or 270 d. C.
About Saint Valentine – Bishop of Interamna – Legend III
Some scholars talk about the presence of another Valentine related to the celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 14. This Saint Valentine was a bishop who resided in Interamna (today known as Terni) in Italy in the third century. It is said that he dedicated his life to the Christian community of Terni, becoming the first bishop of the city. People worshiped Bishop Valentine and the fame of his sanctity and miracles came to Rome.
Valentine was also related to love because he is believed to be the first religious character to oversee the marriage between a pagan man and a Christian woman. It is believed that this Valentine was flogged, imprisoned and beheaded by Placidus, Prefect of Interanma. The bones of the relic of this Valentine are in a basilica in Terni. To commemorate the saint, every year on February 14, the city of Terni hosts exhibitions, fairs and cultural events.