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We celebrate love with candy, flowers and more on Valentine’s Day; but the story about St. Valentine is a strange one. According to one tale, St. Valentine apparently told single men they make better soldiers than soldiers with wives and families, in an attempt to salt marriages. Despite the decree, St. Valentine still married single men in secret until he was caught.

There is also a dispute on whether or not St. Valentine even existed. Read below:

Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.

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