Saint Valentine was a third century Roman Priest, but he was not a good priest because he disobeyed the laws of the Roman Empire. This was during the reign of Aurelius Claudius Gothicus, commonly known as Claudius II, and to many he was known as Claudius the Cruel. This was a time period where the Roman Empire waged many military campaigns and needed good soldiers. Claudius II realized that single men are more fearless soldiers because they don’t have to worry about family matters. So, he enacted a law prohibiting young people from getting married. Priest Valentine secretly married many young lovers contrary to the edict of the Emperor.
Valentine believed marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for life. He encouraged young couples to marry within the Christian church. Roman society was very permissive, and the Christian values presented a problem to the Roman rulers. There was concern about people being attracted to the Christian faith, and Valentine was assisting persecuted Christians.
Claudius II had Priest Valentine arrested, and he personally interrogated him. In discussions with Valentine Claudius tried to convert him to Roman paganism to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert those around him to Christianity. Legend has it that before his execution he performed a miracle by restoring vision to Julia, the blind daughter of Asterius his jailer. Asterius and his entire household came to believe in Jesus and were baptized. On the last evening of Valentine’s life, he wrote a note to Julia and signed it “from your Valentine.” Valentine was executed February 14, 269 AD in Rome. He was given Sainthood after his death and became an inspiration to many for standing for his beliefs in the face of death. Valentine is associated with courtly love which emphasizes nobility and chivalry.
Valentine is the perfect example of standing up for what you believe even if doing so could cause you to lose your job or your life.