Since When Has Saint Valentine Been The Patron Saint of Lovers?

Should the new conformity be to stop celebrating St Valentine’s Day?

February 14, St Valentine's Day, is considered as the celebration of lovers all around the world, but do you know the real cult of Valentine's Day, do you know who the patron saint of lovers really is?

But who are you really, St Val?
The famous, loving Valentine is none other than Valentine de Terni. Valentine was actually a priest and then a bishop. He lived in the 3rd century in Rome and was eventually martyred under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Claudius Gothicus, also known as Claudius II the Gothic. According to some accounts, Christianity was in its infancy during the reign of Claude (I take the liberty of simplifying his name to “Claude”, which is shorter to read). However, Claude, a pagan, and considered to be quite a violent man who had much experience of war, was not fond of Christian believers. He also wanted to prohibit marriage, as he felt that married men made poor soldiers. (We are not quite sure why this was exactly, but anyway!) He therefore decreed that the marriage of younger men was banned. In reality, this was probably so he could have more available and willing men ready to fight for one of his wars.

Despite this decree, loving Valentine carried on organizing marriages between Christians. He believed that marriage was an essential part of God’s plan, and that it was his duty to continue marrying couples, in the name of love. It has to be said that Valentine supposedly married couples aged as young as twelve years old, but that was probably quite common practice at the time. Well, we hope so.
Claude, warned of these adventures, condemned Valentine to prison. Here, Valentine met Julia, the jailer's blind daughter, with whom he had the most sensational and romantic relationship. Valentine described the world to her, so that she could imagine and experience it, despite her blindness. Julia took great care of Valentine, serving him dinner every night, until one day, a miraculous sparkling light descended upon the prison, and Julia regained her sight. She declared to her beloved: “Now I can see! I can see the world as you described it to me!"

The fate of St Valentine
This event, having caused much chatter in the land, finally came to Claude's attention. He ordered Valentine's beheading on February 14, 269 on the Flaminia Way in Rome. It is said that on the night prior to his execution, Valentine wrote a letter to Julia and signed it “From your Valentine.” This story of the first ever written Valentine’s message is what kicked off a ritual that has now turned into the sending of millions of Valentine’s cards around the world.
But wait, this is not quite the end of Valentine’s story. Before his fateful beheading, the Roman legionnaires had a blast, beating him up first. In response to this offense, Julia and her entire family converted to Christianity, to honor the memory of Valentine. Thus, love was given in kind. It was said that Julia planted an almond tree near her loved one's grave. Since this episode the almond tree is the symbol of love!

The practice of St Valentine's Day
The Romans already celebrated Lupercalia, a festival of the coming of Spring, celebrated each 15th February, where boys used to draw girls’ names out of an urn for the purposes of coupling (the girls seemingly didn’t have much say in this matter).
Valentine was canonised by Pope Galasius in 496 and it said by some that Galasius was also responsible for banning the Festival of Lupercalia and replacing it with St Valentine’s day. However, like many things of so long ago, this is not a fact, and it is rather steeped in mystery as to how St Valentine’s day celebrations actually began as we now know them. Valentine’s day as an “official” celebration of romance, did not become popular until the 15th century,  when the appearance of Valentine’s poetry and messages of love became fashionable (possibly before then, not many people could actually write anyway).Anyway, sweet almonds, that is about all we know. It is, as you can see, a lovely little story steeped in everything about love, romance and miracles, which is everything we could ask for this Valentines Day.