Feb. 14 - Saint Valentine's Day
I received this in an email, and I thought I would share it, as it was very interesting. I knew the story of St Valentine and the story behind the "X" in "Xmas", but the information toward the end regarding the "X", criss cross and signing by the "X" I did not know.
In the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius II was faced with defending the Roman Empire from the invading Goths.
He believed men who were not married made better soldiers so he forced the military to ban traditional marriage.
He also forced the Senate to deify the former Emperor Gallienus, including him with the Roman gods to be worshiped.
The ten major persecutions of Christians in the first three centuries rendered historical records scarce, but the legend is that Saint Valentine was a priest or bishop in Italy.
When the Emperor demanded the Church violate its conscience and worship pagan idols, Bishop Valentine refused to comply.
Valentine risked the Emperor's wrath by standing up for traditional marriage, and secretly marrying young men and women.
Saint Valentine was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and then have his head cut off on FEBRUARY 14, 269AD.
While awaiting execution, the story is he prayed for the jailers' sick daughter, who miraculously recovered. He wrote her a note and signed it, "from your Valentine."
In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius designated FEBRUARY 14th as "Saint Valentine's Day."
The Greek name for Christ, Χριστός, begins with the letter "Chi" written as an "X," which is why X-mas became the abbreviation for Christmas.
In Medieval times, the "X" was called the Christ's Cross, or as it was later pronounced, "Criss-Cross."
The Christ's Cross was a form of oath, from whence "crossing one's heart" was derived.
Just as people would swear upon a Bible, then say "so help me God" and kiss it, people would sign a document next to the Christ's Cross then kissed it as a promise before God that they would keep the agreement, a practice which has come down to us as "sign at the X"
This is the origin of signing a Valentines' card with "X"s and "O"s to express a pledge before God to be faithful, sealed with a kiss of sincerity.
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