Not only was St. Valentine a martyr of marriage, he was also ruggedly handsome.
When scientists reconstructed the face of the patron saint of love, applied from 3D-scans of his skull, which was unearthed at the Basilica of Sant Maria of Cosmedin in Rome, they found not an older man of affluence, as they’d previously thought.
St. Valentine, they discovered, had a strong jawline and died young.
How exactly did this brave man die on this day in the year 269 AD?
Though St. Valentine’s life is mostly shrouded in mystery, tradition holds that he sacrificed his life for love by defying a ban on marriage imposed by Roman Emperor Claudius II.
Historians claim the anti-romantic ruler was determined to build a formidable army to defend his empire and clamped down on lovers getting married as he believed that young men with no wife or dependents would be more likely to go to war.
But the early Christian saint challenged the edict and secretly wedded couples.
But the risks were great. Valentine lived at a time when Christians were persecuted and marriage ceremonies were still a new ritual.
Valentine’s match-making activities, particularly for soldiers, were eventually uncovered and Claudius II imprisoned and tortured him.
Legend has it that while in jail many young people supported him by throwing flowers and passing notes through the prison bars expressing their belief in marriage and love.
And apparently shortly before his death, the clergyman fell head over heels for his jailer’s blind daughter, Artemias, who miraculously regained her eyesight.
On Feb. 14, the day of his execution, St. Valentine sent his sweetheart a goodbye love letter signed “from your Valentine.”
Sigh … not only ruggedly handsome, but incredibly romantic. Happy Day, St. Valentine.