The parish church of central Finchley
26 Hendon Lane, Finchley, London N3 1TR

Join us in church on Sundays at 8am & 10am, or online at 7pm

Posted February 11th, 2024

Celebrating St Valentine

pexels mario wallner 10172436 angel

Wednesday marked an important day in the church’s liturgical calendar celebrating the feast of St. Valentine.

It’s a day for honouring love and romance with gifts of cards, chocolates and flowers but the history of this popular festival is shrouded in mystery.

Commemorated each year on February 14, it honours a saint called Valentine and has vestiges of Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

The Catholic Church recognises various saints called Valentine, all of whom were martyred.

One legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius decided that single young men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men.

Valentine believed this was unjust, defied Claudius and continued to marry young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered his death.

According to one legend, he is reputed to have sent the first valentine greeting after falling in love with a young girl, possibly the jailor’s daughter. It was signed: “From your Valentine”.

His enduring appeal is as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure. By the middle ages, he was revered as one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Long live love and romance!

— Lynn Radnedge