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St. Valentine: For love of…

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February 14, 2012 by eneubauer

St. Valentine is known as the patron of  love, young people and happy marriages.  Hence, St.Valentines day has become a celebration of love – with flowers, candy and cards being part of our modern expression.  Its hard not to mention that we have done a great job of commercializing this event –  placing certain expectations on individuals to purchase all sorts of goodies to mark the occasion as an act and sign of our singular devotion to a particular individual.  I have participated in this holiday with joy and have embraced it as an opportunity to show and share my love for wife, children, family and friends.

However, after a short study on the history of Valentinus I now make a few observations about this day that I have not made in the past.  First, let us remember that Valentinus was a temple priest – placed in prison during the reign of Claudius the Goth.  Valentinus was not only marrying Christian couples but was aiding any Christian suffering persecution under Claudius’ reign.  It is believed that Valentinus, while in jail for his defiance against the dictates of his emperor, came under the good graces of Claudius.  This relationship ended when Valentinus tried to convert Claudius to Christianity.  At this point tradition tells us that Valentinus was beaten with clubs, stoned and beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate in or around AD 269.

Therefore, while we celebrate St. Valentines day – marked with gifts and goodies for love of person let us be reminded that this particular day was instituted because Valentinus had the resolve to stand up against unjust laws for love of Christ, Church and people.

Today, may we follow this martyrs lead and stand firm in the conviction(s) of our common faith.

2 thoughts on “St. Valentine: For love of…

  1. Micha Jazz says:

    Thanks, Eric, and some thoughts of my own to add to your excellent piece.

    The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in a The Nuremberg Chronicle, a great illustrated book printed in 1493. Archaeologists also unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. Alongside a woodcut portrait of him the text states that Valentinus was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth [Claudius II]. Since he was caught marrying christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted under Emperor Claudius in Rome. Valentinus was arrested and imprisoned. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner — until Valentinus made a strategic error: he tried to convert the Emperor — whereupon he was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn’t do it, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate [circa 269].

    One legend says he spent his time encouraging young disciples in their faith against a background of persecution and martyrdom., Another states that while awaiting his execution, Valentinus restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter and on the eve of his death, he penned a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it, “From your Valentine.”

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