Saint Valentine is the Patron Saint of Bee Keepers! Oh, and Lovers…

Saint Valentine’s Day is actually a Catholic holiday!  It is celebrated by numerous other denominations and non-Christians alike.  The origin though is in the Catholic Church and his feast day is celebrated on February 14th.  Yes, he was an actual person.  He was a Roman Bishop and was martyred about 269 A.D.  You can visit where he was buried near the Milvian Bridge north of Rome along the Via Flaminia at the cemetery.  You can also visit his relics..they may or may not actually be his, but you can visit them through the world none the less.  I have actually seen the skull of St. Valentine at Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedin.  There is a picture of it over on the left.  You all have probably seen this basilica since it was featured in the film Roman Holiday.  That is where la Bocca della Verità, the Mouth of Truth, is located.

Saint Valentine is the patron saint of a variety of things concerning love, such as good marriages and affianced couples.  He is also the patron saint of some things you would probably not expect.  Like bee keepers.  So for all those bee keepers out there, this is your patron saint.  He is also the patron saint associated with people with fainting disorders, epilepsy, blindness, and various forms of plague.  He was said to have healed the daughter of the jailer in charge of watching over him while he was imprisoned of her blindness through prayer.  He supposedly left her a letter that he signed either “From Your Valentine” or simply “Your Valentine”.  Nobody really knows.

Since he mentioned that he was martyred, I bet you all want to know how he died.  Well, Emperor Claudius II caught him marrying Christian couples so the husbands wouldn’t be forced to go to war.  The Emperor was also not too fond of Christians in general and frequently had them killed or thrown in prison for the rest of their lives.  Despite this,  Claudius actually was quite fond of the imprisoned Valentine, or Valentinius as his name would have been in Latin.  Unfortunately for Valentine, the Roman Emperor  didn’t appreciate  his prisoner trying to convert him to Christianity.  Claudius ordered that he be stoned and beat to death with clubs.  That, however, didn’t do the job.  Valentine survived the stoning and beating.  When informed of this Claudius had him beheaded by the Flaminian Gate outside of Rome.  You can visit this place today and it is called Piazza del Popolo.  There is the Obelisk of Sety I that was brought from Heliopolis, Egypt in the centre of the square.  It’s pretty awesome.  

There are so many different versions of the Saint Valentine story, but they all pretty much agree that he was a Roman born Bishop living during the rule of Emperor Claudius.  Most go along with him being beheaded.  It is just where he was beheaded that varies. There is also some debate about what the jailer’s daughter was suffering from.  Was it blindness?  Was it epilepsy?  Maybe it was a fainting disorder?  Regardless of what she suffered from, he healed her through prayer.  No debate has been raised about him being raised a Christian either.   

Even though people will claim that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a way for stores to make money, the holiday did start out with good intentions.  It started out as a feast day honouring a Catholic saint.  It was a way to remember the love of Christ and that we should show philial love to each other.   We all want to show us some love sometimes and what better day than Valentine’s Day?  Go ahead and give someone a little gift!  Send someone a card!  It shows you care about them.

Stay Lovely and Beautiful Everyone!