St Valentine was a Roman Bishop whom it is believed betrayed the orders of Emperor Claudius in 270 AD by continuing to conduct illegimate wedding ceremonies between persecuted Christian solidiers which the Emperor had forbidden during times of war.
The Emperor claimed that married men made poor soldiers, however Bishop Valentine maintained that marriage was part of God’s plan and purpose for the world and secretly administered weddings to young people, sometimes as young as twelve, and all in the name of love.
St Valentine was consequently imprisoned, but according to legend whilst he was imprisoned he healed the blindness of the daughter of his jailer, Asterius and before he was beheaded he wrote her a letter signed simply with “your Valentine” as a fond farewell.
St Valentine’s day is celebrated on the 14th February and it is believed that the first official celebration was declared in 496 by Pope Galasius, in memory of the martyred priest.
This story has blossomed into the defining tradition of Valentine’s Day and now an estimated one billion cards are sent each year, making it the second largest card-sending clebration of the year behind Christmas.