Saint Valentine is not a recognized Saint by the Orthodox Church. So the Valentine’s Day is not an official holiday in Greece. This is a saint of the Catholic Church and because the commercial interests were mainly established as a commercial festival in Greece.
But Greece has its own saints of love. And not one, not two, but three of them! On February 13th we are celebrating the Aquila and Priscilla, two saints which are considered to be patrons of love. Indeed, in an effort of the Greek Orthodox to reach the youth of Greece, the late Archbishop Christodoulos had urged the Greeks to celebrate their love on the 13th of February.
These two saints were tent makers and embraced Christianity when they left Rome for Corinth in the first century BC and had met with Apostle Paul. Aquila actually became a bishop of Heraclea and was martyred for his faith together with his beloved wife.
The third orthodox “Valentine” is St. Hyacinth, who is celebrated on the 3rd of July. He was martyred for his love for Christ under the emperor Trajan. The first temple that was built for the saint was in Anogia in Crete, somewhere on the slopes of Mount Psiloriti. It is made of stone and its exact location was unknown for many years.
A big celebration is taking place for this Saint and it lasts for 3 days! The Yakintheia – called honor Saint of love and patron Saint of couples. Celebrated approximately 12 kilometers south of the village of Anogia, where is located the church of St. Hyacinth, at an altitude of 1200 meters.
It is a great fiesta in Anogia and the village is near Rethymno, in Crete. If you are planning any trip for this summer with your beloved, you should think about visiting this village.