In 270 A.D., marriage had been outlawed by the emperor of Rome, Claudius II. Claudius issued this decree because he thought that married men made bad soldiers since they were reluctant to be torn away from their families in the case of war. Claudius had also outlawed Christianity in this time period because he wished to be praised as the one supreme god, the Emperor of Rome. Valentine was the bishop of Interamna during this period of oppression. Valentine thought that the decrees of Rome were wrong. He believed that people should be free to love God and to marry. Valentine invited the young couples of the area to come to him. When they came, Valentine secretly performed services of matrimony and united the couples.
Valentine was eventually caught and was brought before the emperor. The emperor saw that Valentine had conviction and drive that was unsurpassed among his men. Claudius tried and tried to persuade Valentine to leave Christianity, serve the Roman Empire and the Roman gods. In exchange, Claudius would pardon him and make him one of his allies. St. Valentine held to his faith and did not renounce Christ. Because of this, the emperor sentenced him to a three-part execution. First, Valentine would be beaten, then stoned, and then finally, beheaded. Valentine died on February 14th, 270 A.D.
While in prison, waiting for his sentence to be carried out, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, the blind Asterius. During the course of Valentine’s prison stay, a miracle occurred and Asterius regained her sight. Valentine sent her a final farewell note. He signed his last note, “From Your Valentine.” Even today, this message remains as the motto for our Valentine’s Day celebrations.
Source: Lutheran Hour Ministries, February 14, 2008
See also: The Canadian Lutheran (http://www.canadianlutheran.ca/true-love-for-st-valentine%E2%80%99s-day/) – Feb. 11, 2011.