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(~) St. Valentines - A Brief History
February 12, 2004
3:00 am
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September 30, 2010
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Saturday, February 14 is St. Valentine's Day. This day has come to mean
flowers and candle light for lovebirds, crunchy little hearts and cards
for gradeschoolers, and bitterness for those left behind.

However, the name behind the mushy cards and flower sales belonged to a
few separate godly men who served Christ early in Church history. At least
three different martyrs named Valentine are mentioned in the early
martyrologies under the date of February 14.

At least two Valentines were martyred under Roman Emperor Claudius II (AD
268 - 270), who is known for his sound beating of the Goths. The majority
of his reign was spent at war and fighting rebellion and opposition. His
devotion to conquering led the Emperor to declare that no young men of
fighting age could be married; they needed to be focused on being
soldiers. Yet, according to tradition, a Christian priest named Valentine
opposed Claudius' decree and married young Roman soldiers in secret. When
this illegal activity was discovered, Valentine was killed.

Another tradition tells of a young man named Valentine who was imprisoned
when Claudius II outlawed Christianity. The Emperor declared Christianity
treasonous by definition, since no Christians would worship Caesar as
Lord. Like other Christians, Valentine was imprisoned for his faith. But,
while in prison, he continued to minister the Gospel of Christ, even to
his jailors. He befriended one jailor, who asked him to pray for his blind
adopted daughter. Valentine prayed for the girl and she gained her
eyesight. Valentine had the opportunity to witness to the jailor and his
whole family and a large number of them believed in Jesus. When the news
reached the Emperor that Valentine was making converts even while in
prison, he had Valentine beheaded. According to the story, young Valentine
sent a note to the healed girl just before his execution, signing it, "
from your Valentine".

St. Valentine's Day, while honoring the saints who were martyred near that
day, was not apparently associated with romantic love until the time of
Chaucer. In Chaucer's "Parliament of Fouls" composed around 1380, he
stated: For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day Whan every foul cometh
ther to choose his mate.

As St. Valentine's Day arrives, and sweethearts exchange cards and gifts,
may we be encouraged by the truly unselfish love of Christ - and his
servants who died so that the Gospel could be spread on to us.

February 13, 2004
7:10 pm
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September 29, 2010
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These are such nice stories.

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