Valentines’ Day

Do you know the for real origin of Valentines’ Day?   If not, I for sure want you to know.  Just follow along:

The origin of Saint Valentine’s Day goes back to the 3rd century.  At that time, the Roman Empire was being invaded by Goths.

At the same time, the Plague of Cyprian, probably smallpox, broke out killing at its height 5,000 people a day.  So many died that the Roman army was depleted of soldiers.

Roman Emperor Claudius II needed more soldiers to fight the invading Goths.  He believed that men fought better if they were not married, so he banned traditional marriage in the military.

Rome was also torn from internal rivalries which continued since the assassination of the previous Emperor, Gallienus.  Emperor Claudius II quelled these tensions by requesting the Roman Senate deify Emperor Gallienus, so as to be worshiped along with the other Roman gods.

Citizens were forced to worship the Roman gods, and “deified” emperors, by placing a pinch of incense on a fire before their statues.  Those who refused worship of the Roman gods were considered “politically incorrect” or “unpatriotic” enemies of the state and killed.

Saint Valentine was a priest in Rome.  He risked the Emperor’s wrath by standing up for traditional marriage, secretly marrying soldiers to their young brides.   He was apparently quite romantic and saw how the birds had courtship and were monogamous.  Much of the Roman Army  had become Christian.  Saint Valentine wanted those soldiers to be able to marry their sweethearts.

When Emperor Claudius demanded that Christians deny their consciences and worship pagan idols, Saint Valentine refused.  He was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, and condemned to die.

While awaiting execution, his jailer, Asterius, asked Saint Valentine to pray for his blind daughter.  When she miraculously regained her sight, the jailer converted and was baptized, along with many others.  Right before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “from your Valentine.”

Saint Valentine was beaten with clubs and stones, and when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate on FEBRUARY 14, 269AD.

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius designated FEBRUARY 14th as “Saint Valentine’s Day.”

The association of birds with fidelity in marital love came about because 90 percent of bird species are monogamous.

Many bird species mate for life, such as varieties of: Swans, Canada Geese, Ravens, Cranes, Blue Jays, Barn Owls, Red-Tailed Hawks, Woodpeckers, Ospreys, Raptors, Penquins, and Bald Eagles.

After elaborate courtships, depending on their species, these birds remain together until one partner dies.

People often sign Valentine cards with X’s and O’s.

The Greek name for Christ, Χριστό, begins with the letter “X” which in Greek is called “Chi.”  “X” became a common abbreviation for the name Christ.  This is why Christ-mas is abbreviated as X-mas.

In Medieval times, the “X” was called the Christ’s Cross, or “Criss-Cross.”  It reminded students that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”

Similar to the ancient practice of swearing upon a Bible, saying “so help me God,” then kissing the Bible, people would sign a document with or next to the Christ’s Cross to swear before God they would keep the agreement, then kiss it to show sincerity.

This practice has come down to us as “sign at the X”, or saying “I swear, cross my heart.”

This is the origin of signing a Valentines’ card with an “X” to express a pledge before God to be faithful, and an “O” to seal the pledge with a kiss of sincerity.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: