Saint Valentine: The Patron Saint Of Bees, Fainting, And The Actual Plague

By | February 7, 2020

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Valentine ministered to persecuted Christians in the third century. Colored engraving, Italy, 1886. (Photo by Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images).

Today, most of what we know about Saint Valentine is wrapped up in the holiday named for him that we celebrate on February 14, but there is much more to this ancient Roman Catholic bishop than roses, love notes, and heart-shaped chocolates. Not much is definitively known about Valentine, who lived in the third century, and many of the stories associated with him have probably been exaggerated over the years. One thing we do know for sure is that Saint Valentine was a real person with a soft spot for love and marriage that got him into trouble with the Romans. 

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Records of the time are incomplete, so we don't know too much about Valentine, the man. (

Two Different Saint Valentines?

The official records from the third century are either murky or nonexistent when it comes to Saint Valentine. Many scholars think that there were actually two men by the name of Valentine and that stories associated with each ended up merging together. Some of these stories have multiple versions and inconsistencies, so it's impossible to know for certain what Valentine did in his lifetime. We do know that Saint Valentine's martyred body is buried in a Christian cemetery near Ponte Milvio along the Via Flaminia and that a feast has been held in his honor since 496 AD.