St. Valentine – Died 270 AD
Valentine, along with Marius and his family helped and served the Christians who were imprisoned and martyred under the persecution of Claudius 11.
Eventually he stirred up the wrath of Claudius and Valentine himself was arrested and sent by the Emperor to the Prefect of Rome.
The Prefect tried to make him recant of his faith by promising all kinds of favors. When these had no effect on Valentine and he insisted that Christ was the only way and continued to condemn the idols, he commanded him to be beaten with clubs, and beheaded on the Flaminian Way on February 14th 270AD. A Roman officer, Asterius, was converted together with his wife and family
He refused to retract his praise of Christ when he was beaten and went gladly to prison. It was said that during his stay in prison he prayed for the jailer’s daughter, who was blind. She was healed and when Valentine went to the executioner for execution, he left her a farewell note of encouragement – “From Valentine.”
His name is celebrated as that of a godly servant and martyr in many martyrologies.
Some early church pastors made an attempt at abolishing a custom on 15th February, the feast of Lupercalia. The boys would draw the name of a girl in honor of the goddess Februata Juno and the Pastors replaced the names and put a list of revered Christians there instead –
So guys, as well as buying a card for your wife/sweetheart every year, buy one every week, along with a huge bunch of roses and do the dishes!
Note: Julius is said to have built a church in Valentine’s honor near Ponte Mole and gave name to the gate now called, Porta Del Popolo, formerly Porta Valentini. His remains are now in the church of St. Praxedes.