Today in Christian History

February 14

February 14, 270: According to tradition, Valentine, a priest in Rome during the reign of Claudius II, is beheaded along the Flaminian Way. One explanation for Valentine's subsequent relationship to the romantic holiday is this: Claudius, seeking to more easily recruit soldiers, removed family ties by forbidding marriage. Valentine ignored the order and performed secret marriages—an act that led to his arrest and execution.

February 14, 869: Cyril, "apostle to the Slavs," dies. Creator of the Cyrillic alphabet (still used in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and elsewhere), translator of the Scriptures into Slavonic, and bishop, he worked with his brother, Methodius, who carried on the missionary work for another 15 years (see issue 54: Eastern Orthodoxy).

February 14, 1760: Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, is born. The first African-American ordained by the Methodist church, Allen also a co-founded the Free African Society, America's first organization founded by blacks for blacks (see issue 62: Bound For Canaan).

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July 23, 1373: Saint Bridget (or Birgitta) of Sweden dies. The pious and charitable mystic and founder of the Bridgettine Order, greatly influenced the pope's decision to return to Rome.

July 23, 1583: Protestant printer John Day, who was responsible for publishing Hugh Latimer's sermons, Nicholas Ridley's "Friendly Farewell," and John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, dies (see issue 72: How We Got Our History).

July 23, 1742: Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles, dies. Born the twenty-fifth child in ...

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