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The Dating Game: Pick Your Origin

February 14th has been both adored and loathed for many reasons. No matter, one cannot deny there are plenty of fun little things to do for all ages from candy hearts and valentine's cards in elementary to having an excuse to save time for a significant other. The variety of ways to celebrate can only be compared to the variety of lore about how Valentine's Day originated. For this blog, An Otter Milestone will discuss the 3 stories from the Christian hagiographers. In honor (and fun) of Valentine's, we will set up the explanations with the same rules of The Dating Game. We will lay each lore in 3 different "doors" and let you decide which "door" you would pick.

Door Number 1:

Valentine was a Catholic priest during the 3rd Century in Rome. The time when Emperor Claudius II ruled over Italy during the war with the Alemanni tribe. Claudius II's authority was only recognized by central territories so he was forced to work with a small number compared to the western providences. In his observance, he noticed soldiers who had a family waiting at home were either distracted or fought with caution. In his need for the best soldiers, Claudius II outlawed all marriages for younger men.

Valentine hearing the news did not agree to eliminate young love's ability to honor each other. In secret, Valentine would continue to marry all the couples who came to him expressing their desire to unite in marriage. It wasn't long before word spread and news got into the wrong hands which lead to the Emperor finding out. Angry his orders were disobeyed, Claudius ordered that the priest be found and put to death. Valentine was killed and buried on the Via Flaminia which Pope Julius I built a basilica over Valentine's grave.

Saint Valentine of Terni

Door Number 2:

The same time frame of late 2nd Century to early 3rd Century. There were records of a Bishop Valentine who was born in Terni, Umbria. Valentine was Terni's 1st Bishop that followed the Christian religion while it was a cult in the Roman Empire. The stories state that this Bishop, as well, continued to defy Claudius II's orders in marrying soldiers and was therefore ordered to be beheaded. Valentine's crime? He was accused of proselytizing. Bishop Valentine's relics were taken back to Terni, Italy.

Valentine's Skull, Basilica di Santa Maria in Cosmedian

Door Number 3: This story is a little different and off the path of the others and research was discovered by Belgian monks called Bollandists. Valentino was sent to jail, with no description of the crime he was accused of. While in jail, Valentino befriended a jailer's daughter. The daughter was blind and Valentino healed her from her blindness. The two fell in love and Valentino would send the jailer's daughter love letters behind bars. Each letter he would sign off "from your Valentine". This went on until the letters were discovered. Valentino was believed to be killed in Africa.

All three show records of being martyred on February 14th. All these stories have roots studied by hagiographers and Bollandists that could not solidify the real Valentine. Due to this fact, the Roman Catholic Church removed Saint Valentine from their General Roman Calendar in 1969. Even with Saint Valentine removed from the Calendars, he is still recognized as a Saint of the church. Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers.

We will leave this blog here and let you decide. Which, of these three doors, are you believing are true and are willing to open the door and follow?

We at An Otter Milestone would like to wish everyone a fun and full Valentine's Day. Take time to cherish those you love. Be your own admirer and treat yourself. We hope you find passion in people and or things around you that make you smile.

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