For most people, St. Valentine's Day is a day of affection and confectionary, a day of kisses, candy and flowers. But just as Christmas is about more than gifts, so too does Valentine's Day have a deeper meaning.
The true romance of the celebration begins with the legend of St. Valentine in roughly 270 A.D.
St. Valentine was a holy priest who was arrested and imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and for aiding Christians who were being persecuted during the reign of Claudius the Goth (Claudius II).
He was brought to prison where he was tortured in an attempt to make him renounce his Christian faith. When Valentine instead tried to convert Claudius, he was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on Feb. 14, in about the year 270 A.D.
One legend says, while awaiting his execution, couples for whom he had conducted marriages brought him flowers and gifts to show their respect and admiration.
This led to today's tradition of presenting your Valentine with gifts. It is also said that, while imprisoned, he restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter and that this miracle led to his eventual canonization.
In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius marked Feb. 14 as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. The legend of St. Valentine is a tale of true love that transcends mere sentiment.
From a letter to the editor written by Paul Kokoski