Who was St. Valentine, and why do we celebrate him on February 14? In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are some fun facts about this saint.
“Valentinus” comes from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful and was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D. There was even a Pope Valentine, though little is known about him except that he served a mere 40 days around A.D. 827.
Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. Of course people call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling.
No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day-an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention.
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