A Different Story for February 14

Today is Valentine’s Day – the day when large part of the world celebrates love. Someplace lovers exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and roses, elsewhere women give men books in return for roses, and if you fall in love in Wales expect to get a lovespoon, on January 25, on St. Dwynwen’s day, because that’s when love parties are held there.

Different part of the World, different traditions. For Orthodox Christians for example, February 14 is the day of the truth and vine. They celebrate the day of their patron saint of gardeners and winegrowers St. Tryphon.


A friend from Russia once told me a story of this saint. He was born in Phrygia, Anatolia, or the Asian part of present Turkey. According to beliefs, ever since he was a child he had healing powers and could help sick people get cured just by looking at them. Once he even helped the daughter of the Roman Emperor Gordian, who was very beautiful but got mentally ill. As a sign of gratitude for his healthy princess the Emperor rewarded St. Tryphon very wealthy but he gave all his gold to the poor and continued living as before, still helping the sick and weak. Decius, the following Emperor after Gordian, wasn’t that keen on Christians, so St. Tryphon was beheaded because he refused to be converted.

Many churches are dedicated to him, he’s the patron saint of Kotor and Moscow, and on February 14 winemakers and gardeners celebrate his name hoping the Saint will help the grapes that year to be sweet, and the barrels full with wine. There’s a Latin saying “In vino veritas” as it was believed nobody could effectively lie when drunk, so this day is also a day of truth.

If you want to celebrate love in Russia on this day, you’ll certainly need to combine it with a glass of red wine and honesty. :) Sounds perfect, don’t you think? Maybe next year I’ll go visit my Russian friend and have one different kind of Valentine.

How will you celebrate February 14 this year?


  1. Amanda says

    Wow, that’s the first time I heard the story about St. Tryphon. It just pained me to know that he had to die just because he loved giving to the needy. But this is truly an inspiring story.

  2. MJ says

    February 14 was spent with the love of my life. We went to a concert with some friends and after that, we visited his parents downtown and had dinner. Although we didn’t have a chance to be alone together, it was well worth it because we spent the day with the ones we love.

  3. Wynona says

    I haven’t heard of St. Tryphon either. All I know and hear on this day of hearts is about St. Valentine. It’s good to know that there are other inspiring stories of saints on the love month. Thanks for sharing this story.

  4. arianne says

    That is indeed a different kind of lovestory for February. It’s interesting to note how he (St.Tryphon) had cared so much for the poor that he had given out his wealth to them and continued healing the sick. I am now much more interested in his life story.

  5. belle says

    ‘Tis the first time I read about another saint connected to Valentine’s day. It’s so sad to learn of what happened to him. Thanks for sharing his story.

  6. Nikki Anne says

    I actually spent Valentine’s day alone.. I got into a spat with my boyfriend two days before and I was too proud to back down. SO I was a little sad.. But it was okay. I got to spend it with ice cream while watching my favorite show.

  7. Sheila says

    I was looking for info about lesser-known saints and my search brought me here. I didn’t know about St. Tryphon and now I am thankful I learned something about his martyrdom. Thank you.

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