The influential Gnostic teacher Valentinius was a candidate for Bishop of Rome in 143. In his teachings, the marriage bed assumed a central place in his version of Christian love, an emphasis sharply in contrast with the asceticism of mainstream Christianity. Stephan A. Hoeller assesses Valentinius on the subject : "In addition to baptism, anointing, eucharist, the initiation of priests and the rites of the dying, the Valentinian Gnosis mentions prominently two great and mysterious sacraments called 'redemption' (apolytrosis) and 'bridal chamber' respectively."
Swedish calendar showing St Valentine's Day 14 February 1712The first recorded association of St. Valentine's Day with romantic love was in the 14th century in England and France, where February 14 was traditionally the day on which birds paired off to mate. This belief is mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's Parlement of Foules (1381). It was common during that era for lovers to exchange notes on this day and to call each other their "Valentines". A 14th century valentine is said to be in the collection of the British Library. It is probable that many of the legends about St. Valentine were invented during this period. Among the legends are ones that assert that:
On the evening before St. Valentine was to be martyred for being a Christian, he passed a love note to his jailer's daughter which read, "From Your Valentine."
During a ban on marriages of Roman soldiers by the Emperor Claudius II, St. Valentine secretly helped arrange marriages.
In most versions of these legends, February 14 is the date associated with his martyrdom.