During the third century in Rome, a young priest named Valentine was sentenced to death because he was performing marriages for young couples.
By Sherry Vogel
While Rome was engaged in war, ruling Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage because he believed single men made better soldiers. This unjust ruling made the young priest furious so he continued to perform wedding ceremonies. Upon being discovered, he was imprisoned and placed on death row. During his incarceration, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, he sent her a letter and signed it, “From Your Valentine” – an expression of love that we still use today.
He was executed Feb. 14, 270 AD. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius proclaimed Feb. 14 a day to honor Valentine, who by then was declared a saint.
We continue to honor St. Valentine by celebrating Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 each year. This has become a day to celebrate our love for significant others, family and friends.