Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th in many countries around the world and is recognised by several churches as an official feast day.
Saint Valentine receives a rosary from the Virgin
David Teniers III
Although little is known about Saint Valentine of Rome himself, the most popular story claims that he was imprisoned for performing illegal weddings for Christian couples and soldiers. While under house arrest, Valentine restored the sight of Julia, the adopted daughter of his jailer, Judge Asterius, who proceeded to release all of the Christians under his authority, and to have his entire family and staff baptised.
However, Valentine continued to preach illegally and was finally summoned to appear before the emperor Claudius himself. Although Claudius initially liked him, when Valentine attempted to convert him as well, he was sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out on February 14th, near the Flaminian Gate in the north of Rome. Apparently, before his execution, he wrote a farewell letter to Julia, the girl whose sight he had saved, signed: "Your Valentine".
The English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer, is credited with having first established Valentine's Day as being associated with romantic love during the 14th century.