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What Is The Real Story Of St. Valentine?

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By Lillian Armstead

What’s love got to do with it?  For most, Valentine’s Day is equivalent to love.  However, Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street in Dublin, Ireland says that Valentine’s Day is about a man named St. Valentine.  “He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudius who persecuted the church at that particular time.  He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people.  This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”

Legend has it that St. Valentine was martyred on February 14th – St. Valentine’s Day for rebelling against the law of the land, which only allowed marriage between one man and one woman.  When Claudius the Emperor became aware of Valentine’s behavior, he ordered his imprisonment – only to be followed by a rigorous persecution that consisted of beatings, stoning and a decapitation, according to Father O’Gara.

St. Valentine is believed to have had a romantic relationship with the blind daughter of one of his persecutors, Asterius.  However, Valentine through prayer cured the young girl of her blindness.  Witnessing this supernatural healing, Asterius became a Christian.

According to Father O’Gara, St. Valentine was able to leave his lover a final note with the inscription, “from your Valentine.”

In today’s culture, Valentine’s Day is set aside for lovers to display appreciation for their sweethearts, loved ones, families, and spouses.  Candy, flowers, jewelry, and other tokens are endowed on loved ones as a demonstration of love.

St. Valentine is honored by many Christians each year at Whitefriars Street Church where his remains are housed.  He would tell lovers today to stay strong throughout the struggles of marriage. Don’t give up when things become tough.

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