History of Valentine's Day

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happy-valentines-day-teddy-bear-graphic.jpgSt Valentine's Day, happens this Tuesday on February 14. It's a day where people show their love and affection for another person - usually in the form of cards, flowers, gifts and messages.

The details are sketchy. Some say St Valentine was a priest from Rome who lived in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriages, believing married men made bad soldiers and St Valentine is thought to have arranged marriages in secret.

He was imprisoned and sentenced to death for his crimes. There, St Valentine apparently fell in love with the jailer's daughter and sent her a love letter signed 'from your Valentine' on February 14th, the day of his execution, as a goodbye.

The name 'Valentinus' is found in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, a book which was compiled between 460 and 544. The feast of St Valentine of February 14th was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God."

Wearing a coronet made from flowers and with a stencilled inscription, St Valentine's skull now resides in the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on Rome's Piazza Bocca della Verita.

 

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