Oh dear- it’s really not a pretty story but no-one ever said the path to true love is smooth.
The tale behind the most lovey-dovey day in the year is more heart breaking than love making but Saint Valentine still reigns supreme when it comes to roses and romance.
Saint Valentine, a Christian, was either a priest in Rome or a bishop in Terni, central Italy. He came to the rescue of young love secretly marrying soldiers. When Emperor Claudius demanded that Christians deny their consciences and worship pagan idols, Saint Valentine refused, was arrested and condemned him to death.
While awaiting execution, his jailer, Asterius, asked Saint Valentine to pray for his blind daughter. When she miraculously regained her sight, the jailer converted and was baptised, along with many others.
Right before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it “from your Valentine.”
The idea was to beat him to death, with maybe a little light stoning thrown in, but when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate on Feb. 14, 269 A.D. It seems that someone kept his head for posterity but whatever the truth of that story, two hundred or so years later he was still on people’s minds and in 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius designated Feb. 14 as “Saint Valentine’s Day.”