Valentinus was a third century Roman priest living during the reign of Claudius II. He aided other persecuted Christians—at a time when this was illegal—and was known especially for marrying Christian couples. Eventually, he was captured and dragged before the emperor where it seems he made a good impression, for the ruler took a liking to him. When the priest boldly attempted to convert the emperor, Claudius demanded that (instead) Valentinus renounce his Christianity. He refused. The ruler had the priest jailed, beaten with clubs, then beheaded. Valentinus was martyred on 14 February 270. Legend has it that the priest, while still incarcerated, cured his jail guard’s blind daughter. Before he was tortured and killed, he sent her a note signed, “your Valentine.” Today Valentinus is considered the patron saint of love, young people, beekeepers, epilepsy, and happy marriages. And, of course, his feast day is one enjoyed by lovers of all ages.
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