Crossword English #145 — The Legend of St. Valentine

Crossword English #145 — The Legend of St. Valentine

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a [5 ACROSS] of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of [7 DOWN] Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he [7 ACROSS] associated with this ancient rite?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that [10 ACROSS] men made better soldiers than those with [12 DOWN] and families, he outlawed [9 DOWN] for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to [3 ACROSS] marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s [2 DOWN] were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to [13 DOWN].

Other stories [6 ACROSS] that Valentine may have been [11 DOWN] for attempting to [19 ACROSS] Christians escape harsh [8 ACROSS] prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.

According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually [18 ACROSS] the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s [13 ACROSS]–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he [1 DOWN] her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in [14 DOWN] today.

Although the [15 DOWN] behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories [17 ACROSS] emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic [4 DOWN]. By the Middle [16 ACROSS], perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

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