Who Was Saint Valentine - Group or a Single Person?

Saint Valentine’s day is clearly recognized and celebrated all around the world. However, the identity of a man whose name had risen over time and eventually became the title of a modern love holiday remains unclear.

Saint Valentine’s True Identity

Formal history had settled its claims on a Roman clergy who lived in the third century A.D. During his service to Christ, emperor Claudius Gothicus proclaimed marriages to be illegal believing it was going to enhance men’s interest in military life and produce more success on battlefields. Despite Claudius’s orders, Valentine decided to hold secret wedding ceremonies so that young couples could get married. This resulted in the beheading of the clergy who was, a couple of decades later, canonized. As clear as it seems, even when exploration limits itself on the time of Claudius’s reign, there are sources describing similar situations regarding different people.

Twin Brothers? Valentine’s Doppelganger

There are two different accounts from the 1400s A.D. They differ in the observation of the saint’s position within the Ecclesiastical hierarchy. One claims that Saint Valentine was a simple priest while the other states he was a bishop. Besides differences in rank, there is a disagreement regarding the place of execution. The square and outskirts of Rome are very different locations and are both very logical. Higher positioned Romans were more likely to be conducted over public executions full of crowd because they would serve as good examples while low-level usurpers weren’t considered to be so important. In the case of Claudius Gothicus, regardless of the usurper’s position, the decision of punishment execution location probably went to the city square. The reason for such a conclusion is the fact that the matter encompassed the state of the military which was the crucial factor during war times. Celts had to be fought and there was no way of doing it without strong and disciplined men eager for war. Punishment for enhancing marriages had to be severe. Since both historic records point to the same time and describe the same offense committed by the members of church it wouldn’t be irrational to assume that it’s word about a single person. Although some claim that Valentine could have easily had a twin brother and that both of them had the same destiny, it is more likely the mistake in records. Still, it doesn’t mean there was only a single Valentine. One minor detail breaks the credibility of such an assessment.

Valentine Meaning in Latin

Valentinus is a Latin word for strong, worth or powerful. The term was often used as a reference to people that earned high reverence according to church evaluations.

Multiple Valentine’s Makes it Hard to Determine Who is Who

According to multiple rosters within possessions of the Catholic church, there is a couple of dozens of saints marked with the term Valentinus. All of them, through thousands of years, served to the church by spreading the word of Christ in multiple ways. One of them was even in Vietnam.

Saint Valentine in Vietnam

Golden Bridge - Vietnam

Golden Bridge in Vietnam

The name of the last beatified Valentine was Berrio-Ochoa. He was a Spaniard by the origin and had served the Catholic church in Vietnam until he was executed. Through being canonized, Berrio-Ochoa helped the expansion of the saint Valentine group. What is interesting is that his end came in a very similar manner as it was the first Valentine considered for the foundation of the famous day. Although the Valentinus payoneer was beaten to death and then beheaded, blade splitting head from the rest of the body is a significant thing to have in common.

Berrio-Ochoa’s Road to Valentine

Berrio-Ochoa lived in the 19th century. His birthplace was a town of Ellorio situated in northern Spain. During early age, he has proven to be kind-hearted and caring which had eventually led to joining the Dominican order. He was sent to the Philippines, and then to his final destination – Vietnam. There he served as bishop until his beheading in 1861. His death ensued from betrayal committed by apostates. During those times Vietnam was still resisting French and Spain attempts of colonializations. Only a year later, the first of the three peace treaties was signed allowing catholic missionaries to freely walk and preach their creed. More than a hundred years later, in 1988 pope John Paul II canonized Berrio-Ochoa.

Valentine Was Even a Pope

A statement that Saint Valentine was a pope wouldn’t be wrong either. Expect you would have to replace ‘the’ with ‘a’, as it is getting more clear by every passing line that Valentinus is more a title than a name marking a single person. Little is known of Pope Valentine, except that he served 40 days around A.D. 827.

Valentine Was a Woman

Saint Valentina

There is even a woman in the order of Valentinus. Saint Valentina was a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.

Saint Valentina was from Caesarea of Palestine. She was little by size and very modest. Valentina was widely known for wearing only the most humble and worn-out clothing. Thea was her best friend. They used to spend a lot of time together, especially when they were praying. One day, ladies joined a group of Christians gathered to hear the Holy Scriptures. Local officials broke up the meeting, grabbed Thea and tortured her. Valentina yelled, “When will you stop torturing my sister?” Valentina was taken to the heathen altar to be burned alive as a sacrifice to gods. Somehow she managed to kick the altar and tear it down. However, it did not change the direction of her terrific fate. Together with Thea, Valentine was burned. The between Thea and Valentine remained as a historic example of spiritual sisterhood. This happened in 308. In the years to come both of the ladies were canonized. The honoring these Holy Virgin Martyrs ocurs twice a year, on February 10 and July 18.


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