Saint Valentine

There are actually a few saints with the same name who are called Saint Valentine. One was a bishop of Terni. Another was a priest and doctor in Rome.  Saint Valentine from Rome is likely who is celebrated since he is a martyr.  Valentine’s priestly life kept him close to his people.

One legend says Saint Valentine was under house arrest.  While discussing religion and faith with Judge Asterius. Valentine said Jesus was the one true God. The judge put Valentine and his faith to the test immediately. Judge Asterius’s daughter was brought to Valentine.  She was blind. Valentine was told to restore her sight. The judge said if Valentine succeeded, he would do anything for Valentine.  Valentine placed his hands on the girl’s eyes and restored her ability to see.Judge Asterius followed Valentine’s requests.  He removed and destroyed all idols in his home. He fasted. He was baptized along with his family and 44 members of his household.  He went on to free all of his Christian inmates.

Valentine was arrested again for converting people to Christianity. He was sent to Emperor Claudius II. He was imprisoned for helping persecuted Christians. He was also secretly marrying Christian couples. This may have meant that husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. There was a law which said the marriage of young people was illegal.  It was believed unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. Married soldiers may have worried about their family if they died. Roman society was very permissive at this time. The Church teaches that marriage is very important. It is between one man and one woman, and for life.  Marriage was encouraged. This was very much against what Roman society believed.

Claudius and Valentine began to talk. A friendship began. Then Valentine attempted to convince Claudius of Christianity. Claudius was furious. He demanded Valentine renounce his faith.

Emperor Valerian issued a law in 257 forbidding Mass or sacraments. Valentine was martyred under Emperor Claudius. Valentine was sentenced to a three-part execution, beating, stoning and finally beheading. He was martyred in 269.  Saint Valentine is the patron saint of love, young people, and happy marriages.

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