St. Valentine was a Roman Catholic Priest and Physician. He was born around 269 A.D. in Rome. During the reign of Emperor Claudius the Goth, a lot of Christians were imprisoned and persecuted, while some were even killed or martyred for their faith. St. Valentine distinguished himself during this period by helping numerous Christians to escape and by ministering to those in prison.
He was later apprehended by the Roman authorities, severely beaten with clubs and beheaded . He was buried in a catacomb, about half a mile outside the city gate, and there , Pope St. Julius I constructed an underground basilica in the 4th century, which Pope Honorius I restored in the 7th century. From this later period dates an ancient fresco painting of the Crucifixion, which is remarkable for being the only representation of Christ’s death to have ever been discovered in any of the catacombs.
Some Truth and Falsehood about Valentine’s day
Truth: Over the years, St. Valentine has come to be regarded as the patron of lovers, young and old alike ( mostly because of his love and assistance to unwed prisoners whom he joined in holy matrimony).
Falsehood: Two curious customs have been observed in the Middle Ages in connection with the feast of this saint, neither of which has any direct relation to Valentine as such. The first is the “Puys d’Amour”-(French love songs) a kind of songfest and competition for troubadours and romantic minstrels was held on this day. Another custom, more popular, that prevails universally even today is the practice of sending the “Valentine’s Day”, greetings and gifts, probably stemming from the belief that it marked the commencement of the mating season for birds!
How best to honor a man (St. Valentine)- live out his legacy!
St. Valentine facilitated the freedom of so many in slavery, captivity and bondage. We can as much in St. Valentines day by paying school fees, giving out scholarship and helping out a lot of families in need. St. Valentine visited the prisons and comforted prisoners. We can do as much by carrying out mass prison visits on this day. It could be renamed “World Prisoners Day” because Valentine for most part of his adult life visited the prisons.
Again, St. Valentine did not just visit the prisons, but celebrated ‘weddings’ between couples in the prison. We can do him honor by celebrating birthday parties, and wedding anniversaries in the prisons. It would be a challenge and a victory for us to start seeing prisoners wed themselves in prison, and celebrated by all on Valentine’s day. This will make a lot of sense and meaning to all of humanity and pay the best of tributes in memory of the man who started it all- St. Valentine.
Compiled by Bede Adazie
Saint Companions for Each Day by A.J. M Mausolf’e, J.K Mausolfe