The origin of this holiday for expressions of love really isn't romantic at all-at least not in the traditional sense. We spoke with Father Frank O'Gara of Whitefriars street church in Dublin, Ireland to give us the real story of the man behind the holiday: St. Valentine.
He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time and he also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. On the basis, on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers sort of fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.
To bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived. Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and just one man living together-really.
And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But, it obviously was that the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman and for their life and that it was to be encouraged.
And so, it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about the idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict. Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine's actions while in prison. One of his judges was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius who's daughter, was blind.
He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl. With such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result of that.
In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning and finally, decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius' daughter. He inspired today's romantic missives by signing it: "from your Valentine."
From CBN dot com