ST. VALENTINE. No no no…Don’t jump to any conclusions. St. Valentine was not Gay, but neither did he have anything to do with the holiday for lovers that bears his name. That St. Valentine, one of the more boring Christian martyrs, is the patron saint of lovers is a mere fluke. You see, the Norman word galatin, meaning a lover, was often mispronounced valentin, and through a natural confusion of names, St. Valentine became associated with love.

Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.”

One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.

There is lore that says he was sent to the prison as he was involved in the act of soldiers weddings who were not allowed to marry or mistreated in the Roman empire. Hmmmmmmmm….