Today is the day when couples around the world celebrate their love for each other, but what many people do not realize is that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy.
In ancient times, the cause of epilepsy was unknown as a result, the condition was often thought of as an evil spirit or demon inhabiting the unfortunate human.
“The condition was seen to be a supernatural event where the gods had both the power to inflict epilepsy on people (as punishment, atonement or a challenge) and to release people from it,” says Philip Lee, of Epilepsy Action.
The more serious the disease, the greater the number of patron saints were responsible. Although there were forty saints associated with epilepsy, St Valentine was the best known.
There are two saints with the name Valentine who are worshipped in the Roman Catholic Church: Valentine of Terni, patron saint day February 14, and Valentine of Rhaetia, patron saint day January 7.
Historically, people with epilepsy are portrayed in images of both these St. Valentines. According to Saints.com, most scholars believe they are the same person. St. Valentine also protects against fainting, against plague, and also protects beekeepers.