Church Holiday History
to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), at least three
different Saints Valentine, all of them martyrs, are
mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date
of February 14th:
- a priest
in Rome who suffered martyrdom in the second half
of the 3rd century and was buried on the Via Flaminia.
- a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) also suffered
martyrdom in the second half of the 3rd century and
was also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different
location than the priest.
- a martyr in North Africa, about whom little else
between St. Valentine and romantic love is not mentioned
in any early histories and is regarded by historians
as purely a matter of legend (see below). The feast
of St. Valentine was first declared to be on February
14 by Pope Gelasius I around 498. There is a widespread
legend that he created the day to counter the practice
held on Lupercalia of young men and women pairing
off as lovers by drawing their names out of an urn,
but this practice is not attested in any sources from
19th century, relics of St. Valentine were donated
by Pope Gregory XVI to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite
Church in Dublin, Ireland, which has become a popular
place of pilgrimage on February 14.
as part of a larger effort to pare down the number
of saint days of purely legendary origin, the Church
removed St. Valentine's Day as an official holiday
from its calendar.
the influential Gnostic teacher Valentinius who was
a candidate for Bishop of Rome in 143.