History of Valentines Day

History of Valentines Day

Written By Saginaw Chaplain, Susan Hand

“Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14

Approximately 250 years after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a priest by the name of Valentine who lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius. He believed it was important for men to volunteer for armed service, rather than drafting them into service. But, most young men in the Roman Empire refused to serve, they’d rather stay at home with their wives and children. Claudius found that only single men would volunteer for service, so he issued a royal edict that banned all further marriages. He actually outlawed weddings in the Roman Empire, giving himself the nick-name Claudius the Cruel. Valentine thought it was ridiculous! He enjoyed marrying couples. 

After Emperor Claudius passed his law, Valentine secretly continued performing marriages. He would whisper the words of the ceremony, while listening for soldiers on the steps outside. One night, Valentine did hear footsteps at his door. The couple he was marrying escaped, but he was caught and was thrown in jail, being sentenced to death. Many of the young couples he had married came to visit him in jail, throwing flowers and notes up to his window. One day, he received a visit from the daughter of one of the prison guards. Her father allowed her to visit him in his cell and they often sat and talked for hours. She believed he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and performing weddings. On the day Valentine was to die, he left her a note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love  from your Valentine.” That note started the custom of exchanging love notes on Valentine’s Day. It was written on the day he died, February 14, 269 A.D. Now, every year on this day, people remember Saint Valentine, but most importantly, they think about love. Remember to send your loved ones a special note of love this Valentine’s Day!

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