Will the real St. Valentine please stand up?

You mean there was more than one St. Valentine?

Since it is around Valentine’s Day and St. Valentine was a person of interest in Church History, I thought I would research and write about who this guy was and why he has a holiday named after him (I mean after all whatever he did he was no groundhog looking for his shadow to predict the end of winter).  So as I researched I discovered there were several men written about throughout history that bore the name Valentine or Valentinus (the Latin version of his name).  3 of these men lived around the year AD 270, and each has various degrees of information about their life and death.

So who were these three guys?

First off the name comes from the word valens which means worthy, strong , or powerful.  As such many followers of Jesus could and should have been called by this name.  As stated earlier there were three men with this name who lived around AD 270, so here they are (what little is known about some of them):

  • One of these men, legend has it suffered, for his faith along with several others somewhere in Africa.  Nothing else is know of this one.

  • The second, a bishop near Rome, was beaten and martyred for disobeying laws given by the Emperor Claudius II.

  • The third (a bishop in modern day Terni outside of Rome)was martyred (possibly beheaded) for his commitment to Jesus and this punishment was performed outside of Rome.

If that was not confusing enough

These last two stories have so little information and much is simply here say that the stories may be intermingled and convoluted so much that historians are unsure which did which.

What does he have to do with hearts and whispering sweet nothings (motorcycle cop (reference to The Muppet Movie)) to your significant other?

In a word ‘nothing’.  Apparently in the 18th century in England a couple of guys got together and wanted to supplant or replace a pagan holiday (that of Lupercalia) with a Christian one so they picked some obscure person of which little or nothing was known.

Orrrrrrr – Chaucer and his cronies mentioned Valentine in connection with a celebration associated with romantic love.

Sorry to burst your bubble about this guy who supposedly spread love and romance throughout the kingdom.

What can we learn from St.Valentine

I know this may sound trite or cliche but perhaps the thing best learned is the honoring of people who were willing to follow Jesus no matter what the cost.  Valentinus can be held up for not compromising the message of TRUE LOVE, that God so loved sinners He became a man to deal with sin in the only way that would satisfy His holiness, the death of a God/man. Valentine spread this good news until his beheading because of his concern for the souls of those around him.

Perhaps St. Valentine (and others) should be lauded more than once a year on February 14.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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