St. Valentine's Day Story
St. Valentine's Day Story

Celebrating a life of a loving priest ...

In the city of Rome there once lived an emperor known in history as Claudius. Near his palace was a beautiful temple where the priest Valentine served.

The Romans loved him dearly and assembled into the temple to hear his words. When war broke out, Claudius summoned the citizens forth to battle and year after year the fighting continued. Many of the Romans were unwilling to go. The married men did not want to leave their families. The younger men did not wish to leave their sweethearts.

The emperor was angry when soldiers were too few. He ordered that no marriages should be celebrated and that all engagements must be broken off immediately. Many a young Roman went off to the wars in sorrow, leaving his love. Now the good priest Valentine heard of the emperor's command and was very sad. When a young couple came to the temple, he secretly united them in marriage in front of the sacred alter.
Others came and quietly were married. Valentine was the friend of lovers in every district of Rome. But, such secrets could not be kept for long. Word of Valentine's acts reached the palace and Claudius was angry. He summoned his soldiers. "Go! Take that priest in the temple! Cast him into a dungeon!"
In spite of the pleading of his many friends, Valentine was dragged from the temple where a young maiden and a Roman youth stood, ready to wed. In a dungeon Valentine languished and died. His devoted friends buried him in the church of St. Praxedes.
When you go to Rome you can see the very place. It was the year 270, on the fourteenth of February. From all over come customs of sending our friends loving messages on this day. With flowers, with heart- shaped candies, with lacy valentines we honor Love and the good priest who disobeyed Claudius.
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