Pope Gelasius I held the first feast of St. Valentine’s in 496 AD, who included Valentine among those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.” This quote implies that even at this early stage the pope did not know the history of St Valentine.
It is generally believed that st Valentine was either: A priest in Rome, a bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) or a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.
The most popular choice for the Saint is the Roman priest who, legend has it, defied the emperor Claudius II by marrying Christians in secret. He was beheaded for his crimes and was subsequently martyred.
Some antiquarians suggested that Valentine’s Day was created as an attempt to replace the pagan holiday of Lupercalia. , Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
In addition to a feast Lupercalia festivities are thought to have included the pairing of young women and men. Thereby baking up the theory that this celebration was the forerunner of Valentines.
However it is also argued that feast of St Valentine’s first became associated with romantic love in the middle ages led by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle as at this time the tradition of courtly love was at its height.
The day is most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of “valentines”.
Valentines has long been associated with Cupid as according to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. His job was to make people fall in love by shooting them with arrows.