I have always wondered about St. Valentine and who he was. I've heard some good things and some bad things. So, this year I decided to find out more about this mysterious person that is the inspiration for our February 14 celebration of Valentine's Day. Below are 10 surprising facts about St. Valentine. (Post may contain affiliate links).
Who was St. Valentine?
Well, that depends on who you ask, apparently. For example, according to History.com, there are about a dozen St. Valentines, one of which was a woman (Valentina). One of the main reasons there are so many St. Valentines is probably because the term “Valentinus” comes from the Latin for “worthy, strong and powerful.”
According to Wikipedia, we celebrate two different Saints' Lives on February 14. However, they are probably the same man.
- St. Valentine was a widely recognized 3rd-century Roman saint from the High Middle Ages, and his Saints' Day is associated with a tradition of courtly love.
- Saint Valentine was also a clergyman and he was probably either a priest or a bishop.
Some history sources state that St. Valentine lived in the Roman Empire and ministered to persecuted Christians. He was martyred and buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flaminia, which was close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome.
The reason we celebrate on February 14 is because he was martyred on this day. St. Valentines Day is also known as “The Feast of Saint Valentine,” and has been celebrated since 496 AD.
Below are a few of the “Valentines” that can be celebrated throughout the year:
- According to history.com, the saint we celebrate on February 14th is known officially as “St. Valentine of Rome.” This Valentine is rumored to have been martyred by beheading by Pope Claudius II on 2/14/269 or 270 for marrying Christian couples.
- The Most “Beatified” of the St. Valentines was St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa. Ochoa was a Spaniard of the Dominican order who lived and died in Vietnam in 1861. He died by beheading and was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.
- Pope Valentine, served for 40 days around A.D. 827.
- St. Valentine of Viterbo is celebrated on November 3. Catholic sources state he was martyred in 304 by Emperor Diocletian under the influence of Galerius.
- St. Valentine of Raetia can be celebrated on January 7. According to Catholic sources, Raetia was a bishop Christened “Valentine” in the 5th Century, who lived in the city of Raetia, Italy.
- St. Valentine (Valentina) was a virgin and was martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308.
- The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.