By Bill Federer
There were ten major persecutions of Christians in the first three centuries in which many historical records were destroyed, but the legend passed down in Legenda Sanctorum by Jacobus de Voragine, 1260, was 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,” and became an abbreviation for the name of Christ.
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 a written oath.
Similar to the ancient practice of swearing upon a Bible, saying “so help me God,” then kissing the Bible, people would sign a document next to the Christ’s Cross to swear before God they would keep the agreement, then kissed it to show sincerity.
This practice has come down to us as “sign at the X”, or “crossing one’s heart.”
This is the origin of signing a Valentines’ card with an “X” to express a pledge before God to be faithful, and an “O” to seal the pledge with a kiss of sincerity.
Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit. Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching.