ST. VALENTINE, February 14

St.ValentneStories of two different saints named Valentine go back to the 200s.

The first Valentine was a Roman priest, arrested under Claudius the Goth.  Valentine openly confessed his Christian faith before the Emperor and when questioned about the Roman gods, Jupiter and Mercury said they were contemptible and shameless characters.  Valentine was committed to the care of a magistrate.  This man had a daughter who was blind.  Valentine cured her and converted the entire family.  When the Emperor heard this, he had Valentine decapitated.  In the 4th c. Pope Julius built a church in honor of this martyr

The second St. Valentine is thought to have been the Bishop of Terni in Umbria and had a reputation for performing miracles.  The philosopher, Crato, had a son with an incurable malady and he sent for Valentine.  Valentine said he would heal the son if the family would convert.  It was agreed and both kept their side of the bargain.  When the local prefect heard of this, he had this Valentine beheaded and sent home.  St. Valentine is still patron saint of Terni.

In the middle ages, it was believed birds began to pair on February 14.  From this came the custom of sending “valentines”.


Source:  Lives of the Saints, by Omer Englebert

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