Saint Valentine was a Roman priest (and possibly bishop) who ministered to persecuted Christians in Third Century Rome. His evangelical efforts were not appreciated by the Roman authorities. He was arrested more than once, the final time by the Emperor Claudius Gothicas—who came to like Valentine. However, when Valentine pushed the Emperor to convert to Christianity, the monarch provided his own ultimatum: either Valentine renounce his faith or he would be clubbed and beheaded. The priest refused to renounce and was martyred on 14 February 269.
Valentine's relics have proved popular for centuries—and remain so to this day—especially amongst those seeking love and marriage. Portions of his purported relics are venerated in the cities of Rome, Madrid, Vienna, Prague, Dublin, Glasgow, Birmingham, Malta and the island of Lesbos as well as in France and Poland.
The story of Saint Valentine's life remains shrouded in mystery. It is also possible that the story we know is a combination of histories of different people. Because of this confusion—a lack of reliable specifics about the life of the man—in 1969 the Catholic Church removed Valentine from their "General Roman Calendar" of memorials. This means that, while Valentine remains recognized as a saint, there is no specific day on which his memorial is celebrated in the calendar of Masses. Nevertheless, amongst the people, he remains one of the most famous, popular, and honored of all the saints.
The cast pewter heart, shown above, is finished with a golden-brassy wash. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
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