St Valentine’s Day embraces a time of year historically associated with love and fertility. On this day, we remember the martyrdom of St Valentine, who was executed in Rome around 269 AD, under orders from the Emperor Claudius. Emperor Claudius claimed that married men made poor soldiers and decreed that marriage between younger citizens be outlawed.

Despite this, it is believed that Valentine continued to conduct illegitimate wedding ceremonies in the capital, maintaining that marriage was part of God’s plan and purpose for the world. The popularity of his actions ultimately led to his arrest and execution, but not before he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Legend suggests that on the evening of his execution the priest passed her a note which read “from your Valentine”.

The Feast Day of St Valentine invites us to mark and acknowledge the all loving God who blesses those who love one another. The sacrificial love of God in Christ is an example of the human love between men and women.