Did you know that Valentine’s day is named after a Catholic saint named St. Valentine? There are at least three Valentines who are listed as martyrs of the church; however, the celebration of Valentine’s day is believed to have originated from the Italian St. Valentine who was both a doctor and a priest.
During the reign of Emperor Claudius II, it was illegal for soldiers to marry because Claudius needed them to stay in the military to fight for the Roman Empire. St. Valentine felt that true love was a gift from God, so he performed many marriages of couples caught in this situation. St. Valentine became so famous for helping these couples that he was arrested and sent to jail.
While in jail, he became friends with his jailer, Asterious, who was so impressed with St. Valentine’s wisdom that he asked St. Valentine to help his daughter, Julia, who was blind and needed someone to read to her. Later, Emperor Claudius also came to like St. Valentine and offered him a pardon if he would only renounce his faith and worship the Roman gods. But St. Valentine was faithful. He refused the offer and instead, invited Claudius to believe in Christ. Claudius sentenced St. Valentine to death. Before he was executed, he managed to send a letter to Julia to encourage her to stay faithful to Jesus and to thank her for being his friend. St. Valentine finished his letter with, “From your Valentine,” which was the inspiration that led to today’s tradition of writing love letters on Valentine’s Day.