Christian priest Valentine is the defender of hearts in love, canonized for his selfless service to his faith. Every year around the world, Valentine's Day is celebrated and valentine cards are sent out with confessions of tender feelings. About Valentine himself, mainly legends have survived to this day.
In the Catholic Church, there are three venerated saints named Valentine who were martyred. There is practically no information about them that could be called reliable, but it is known that one of them - Valentine of Rome - died along with his brothers in the faith in the 3rd century AD. during the period of persecution of Christians, and another, and completely unknown Valentine - met his death in Carthage.
However, the most likely Saint Valentine, patronizing Valentine's Day, can be considered Bishop Valentine from the city of Interamna, now called Terni and located in Italy. It is with his life that numerous legends about miracles and kind-hearted deeds of the saint, revered by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, are associated.
He came from a patrician family - a noble family, and in his youth turned to Christianity. At the age of just over twenty, Valentine was appointed Bishop of Interamna. From the "Life of St. Valentine" you can learn that in 270 he was invited to Rome by the philosopher Craton. The child of Craton had such a twisted spine that his head touched his knees, but Valentine miraculously healed him, converting Craton and his disciples to Christianity, including the son of the mayor himself. Valentine was captured. Instead of renouncing his faith, he chose martyrdom.
So, Valentine was executed for devotion to the Christian faith on February 14, 270, he was buried in the vicinity of Rome. A church was built over the saint's grave, and to this day in Terni - the former city of Interamna - you can worship his relics.
Valentine's personality has acquired a wide variety of legends. Christian symbols of a dove and a flower appear especially often in them.
For example, there is a legend about how Valentine married warriors in love from the imperial army with their chosen ones, despite the prohibition of marriage introduced by Claudius II. Being a skilled healer, Valentine was going to heal his beloved - the jailer's blind daughter Julia, but he himself was imprisoned for secret weddings and executed. The jailer, who asked Valentine for help for his daughter, gave her Valentine's suicide message, which included a saffron flower, a declaration of love, and the signature: "Your Valentine." Touching the flower, the girl regained her sight.
Another legend says that Saint Valentine kept a beautiful garden in which roses bloomed, white doves nested and children always played. When Valentine was taken into custody for his Christian faith, more than anything else, he worried about the children: now they will have nowhere to play. But the pigeons from his garden found their way to the Roman prison: Valentine tied a letter to one dove, and a key from the gate to the other. The birds returned home and brought the last message from the saint to the children: "To all the children I love from your Valentine."
Roses and white doves today remain symbols of love, and letters with words of love are called valentines.