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I’ve been doing a little investigating this morning and discovered Valentine’s Day wasn’t as pleasant as I had thought. It all started a long time ago with the Ancient Romans. On February 14 the year 278A.D., Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.
Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.
Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret because he felt it was wrong an awful of Claudis to do such a thing.
When Claudius discovered Valentine’s betrayal to the empire and military he ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the people of Rome. They condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.
Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter . That had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”
Valentine was named a saint after his death by all the secret lovers he had joined in marriage secretly. Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.