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Love Unfolds the History of St. Valentine’s Day – Part 2 – Story of Saint Valentine

Sainthood – Part 2

As the years passed the Christian Church became more powerful.   In the year 496 AD, Pope Gelasius I  ( 492-496 ) attempted to abolish Lupercalia, as he did not want the people to believe in Roman gods.    The people resisted,  so Pope Gelasius I  decided to make the holiday into a church holiday.    He chose Valentine as the patron saint of lovers, who would be honoured at the new festival, on the fourteenth of every February.

A Saint is a Christian person who has died and is worthy of great honour and respect.    The name comes from the Latin word ‘sanctus’, meaning holy.   Many of the saints faced enormous problems but they reacted with great courage and faith.    They were considered intercessors between God and mankind.

Story of Seynt Valentyne

At that time there were a few saints named Valentine so it is not certain which Valentine Pope Gelasius chose as the honoured saint.   The facts of Valentine’s life have been lost to history.    However the legends that remain often contain the residue of truth.   The name “Valentine”, derived from valens (worthy), was popular in late antiquity.

One Valentine is described as a priest in Rome, and another as  Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni).

The Bishop of Interamna is most widely accepted as the basis of the modern saint. He was an early Christian martyr who lived in northern Italy in the third century and was put to death on February 14th around 270 AD by the orders of Emperor Claudius II for disobeying the ban on Christianity. However, most scholars believe Valentine of Terni and the priest Valentine of Rome were the same person.

Both Valentine’s lived under Emperor Claudius II of Rome (August 1, 10 BC – October 13, AD 54).  Emperor Claudius was called “Claudius the Cruel” because he was quick to anger and bloodthirsty and cruel.  He was also angry with his own people.  He wanted the men to go to war but they wanted to stay with their wives.  Claudius then out of anger, ordered a moratorium on all marriages and that all engagements must be broken off immediately.

Valentine did not honour this proclamation and married the couples secretly as he felt compassion for them.  Emperor Claudius discovered this secret and threw Valentine in a dungeon.  Valentine languished in the harsh Roman prison and eventually died.  His devoted friends are said to have buried him in the church of St. Praxedes.    When you go to Rome you can see the very place.     It was the year 270AD, on the 14th of February.

The second Valentine was  a physician who cared for the ill and injured.   He cleaned wounds with wine and vinegar and bandaged them with fresh cloth.  He would grind up herbs and roots to ease a patient’s pain.  He would only accept what could be offered in way of payment, such as a jug of wine.

One day a man named Asterius, who was a jailer at the emperor’s prison, beseeched Valentine to help his daughter,  Julia,  who was blind since birth.  Valentine began to treat the jailer’s  daughter with his herbs.    Valentine read stories of Rome’s history to her.    He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God.

Valentine prayed to one God, as he was a Christian.  The Romans did not like the Christians and blamed them often when bad things happened.   Claudius’ Rome was an extremely dangerous place to be Christian.  Claudius had  ordered all Romans to worship the state religion’s idols, and he had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.

During that time Valentine aided Christians who were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius.  This resulted in Valentine being arrested and imprisoned by Emperor Claudius.

After his arrest Valentine sent a note written on a scrap of papyrus to Julia, the young girl.  When the girl unrolled the papyrus a yellow crocus fell into her hand.   As she held up the blossom before her face, her sight was restored. The note read “From your Valentine”.   The crocus is the traditional flower of St. Valentine.

Valentine refused to renounce his faith before the Emperor Claudius.  This infuriated Claudius and he ordered Valentine’s brutal execution – beaten by clubs until dead and then beheaded.    Valentine was executed in the year 280 on the fourteenth day of February.  It is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave.    Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.

The End of Part 2

Read Part 1

Read Part 3

Lady Sharon
Scribe of Camelot

Watch this short piece called “Searching for St. Valentine”.     We thanketh   Zion Studio for this piece.

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