Since today in February would be Saint Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d pass on some information about the holy men who we remember on the fourteenth. It’s still January, but never too early to teach.
Saint Valentine’s Day - or just Valentine’s Day, as some secularists call it - is a day not of love and vanity, but a day of remebrance. There are actually three saints, all with the same name, whom we honor today. Not much is known of any of them, and while some would say this is why secularism has taken over the religious significence of the day, I would say that, far from being pushed aside, the remembrance is still alive in the Church; it only appears to be pushed aside because the world has embraced a secular understanding of the holy day, and, when some journalists decide to promote this understanding or who declare that the origins of the day go back to pre-Christian paganism, they only further confuse the world. But the truth prevails.
The three Valentine’s are, first, a priest at Rome, second, a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and third, a man in Africa who suffered with compaions. There are some who believe that none of the saints actually existed, but their historical existence is well recorded in the early martyologies, which is a catalogue of saints and martyrs with their memorial days. (The martyrology is arranged according to the Liturgical Calender) Some would argue that three men with the same name all dying on the fourteenth of February is too conicidental to be factual, but it is actually divine Providence.
The name Valentine - which means ‘strong, healthy’ - is very appropriate for all three martyrs, and it would seem to be a sign of their fate, for, as shown by their dying for Christ, they were strong in their faith. Some believe that the name Valentine means love, but this is actually a misconception based on the fact that Saint Valentine’s Day fell on the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia, which is also where some believe the holy day is about love, not the three martyred saints. And to say this holy day has its origins in the Roman festival would be very ignorant, because the Church celebrates the feasts of saints on the day their souls fly from their bodies to Abraham’s bosom. So, since the fourteenth of February is the day that all three martyrs died for Christ, it is the day we honor them.