The Real St. Valentine

Tired of seeing hearts and flowers everywhere?

If the holiday clichés of buying candy and flowers don’t hold much meaning for you, celebrate the real St. Valentine, who was a third-century Christian, martyred in Rome on February 14 and buried near the Milvian bridge. Beyond this, not much is known for sure about his life and martyrdom, but the older traditional stories of his martyrdom have no connection with romance. Instead, they reflect the courage of one who was willing to die for his faith in Jesus. St. Valentine believed, as St. Paul says, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).

St. Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who, with St Marius and his family, assisted the martyrs in the persecution under Claudius II. He was apprehended, and sent by the emperor to the prefect of Rome, who, on finding all his promises to make him renounce his faith ineffectual, commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and afterward to be beheaded. Valentine was executed on the 14th of February, about the year 270 (Pictorial Lives of the Saints 93-94).


Written by
Kathryn Hogan
View all articles
Written by Kathryn Hogan