5 Questions With…Saint Valentine
Did you ever wonder who Valentine’s Day is named after? And did you know that he’s been dead for over 1,600 years? Despite that, here, for the first time in history and through the power of a fervid imagination, we bring a world exclusive interview with the man whose day causes so much angst in the hearts of lovers young and old.
There are 11 Saint Valentines in various religious calendars. How do we know that the day was named after you?
Well there weren’t really 11 of us. The numbers became conflated as the stories interwove. I am either the Valentine who was martyred and is buried in Rome, or I was martyred and buried in Terni. In truth, I think it’s all really me and that parts of me are in both places.
And you are the patron saint of lovers, is that right?
And beekeepers and epileptics, although what the link is I’m sure God only knows. But yes originally if you wanted someone you loved to be watched over you asked me to intercede for you; put in a word with the Big Guy, so to speak.
How then did you get the job of looking after lovers?
I was martyred because the Emperor Claudius did not believe in marriage and it was a fundamental part of our Christian faith. So I used to marry them in secret. He didn’t like that.
Well he put me in jail. While I was there I cured a jailer’s daughter of blindness. We used to write to each other after that and I would always sign my cards, “from your Valentine.” That’s where Hallmark got the idea for their cards.
And everyone lived happily ever after I suppose.
No, I’m a martyr dammit. Claudius had me beaten, hanged, decapitated and then chopped up. It was gruesome and painful.
The poor man, a much maligned martyr whose history has disappeared into fiction and greeting cards. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.