I only realised today that St Valentine was not just patron saints of lovers and romantics, but also bees and beekeepers. Valentine probably was a real person, although he may have been two or more men who have been conflated into a single saint, or maybe martyr, or maybe a priest, or maybe Bishop of Terni which is in Umbria. Whoever he or they were, it seems he married Christian couples, maybe at a time when it was forbidden, and he was killed for doing so, probably on February 14th… possibly.
In actual fact, there are other Valentines (and a pope who lasted for forty days) whose days are celebrated at other times of the year, so officially the Valentine’s day Valentine, is St Valentine of Rome. Altogether there are eleven saintly Valentines, including a priest from Viterbo in Lazio; a bishop from Raetia which was an area now shared by Switzerland, Germany and Austria; a Spanish hermit St Fructus; Valentine Berrio Ochoa, a Spanish priest beheaded in the Philippines in 1861 , Valentine Jaunzarás Gómez, killed in Spain in 1936 and a Palestinian lady saint and virgin from the fourth century called Valentina.
I came across a list of twelve Valentines:
- Blessed Valentín Díez Serna
- Blessed Valentín Gil Arribas
- Blessed Valentín Palencia Marquina
- Blessed Vicente Jaunzarás Gómez
- Saint Valentine of Genoa
- Saint Valentine of Langres
- Saint Valentine of Paris
- Saint Valentine of Passau
- Saint Valentine of Ravenna
- Saint Valentine of Rome
- Saint Valentine of Segovia
- Saint Valentine of Terni