St. Valentine (birthdate unknown; d. February 14, 269) was the Christian Bishop of Terni who was persecuted and martyred by Roman Emperor Claudius II (Gothicus) for refusing to give up his Christian faith. In 496, Pope Gelasius marked February 14 as "Saint Valentine's Day," a celebration in honor of his martyrdom. St. Valentine became well known for the way he cared for others.
There are several disagreements regarding who exactly "Saint Valentine" was. Regardless, we know for certain that Valentine existed because archaeologists have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14 as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
Commonly Accepted Identity and Testimony
The man commonly referred to as Saint Valentine is acknowledged by the Church to be the former Bishop of Terni, a city in southern Umbria, in what is now central Italy. While under house arrest of judge Asterius, and discussing his faith with him, Valentinus (the Roman/Latin pronunciation of his name) was discussing the validity of Jesus. The judge put Valentinus to the test and brought to him the judge's adopted blind daughter. If Valentinus succeeded in restoring the girl's sight, Asterius would do anything he asked. Valentinus laid his hands on her eyes and the child's vision was restored. Immediately humbled, The judge asked Valentinus what he should do. Valentinus replied that all of the idols around the judge's house should be broken, the judge should fast for three days, and then be baptized. The judge obeyed and as a result, freed all the Christian inmates under his authority. The judge, his family and forty others were baptized. Unfortunately, later Valentinus was arrested again for continuing to serve Jesus and was sent to the prefect of Rome, to the emperor Claudius himself. Claudius took a liking to him until Valentinus tried to lead Claudius to Jesus, whereupon Claudius refused and condemned Valentinus to death. Commanding that Valentinus either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs, and beheaded. Valentinus refused and Claudius' command was executed outside the Flaminian Gate on February 14, 269.
A Church was built in his honor by Pope Julius I (337-352) at Porta del Popolo, Rome, which was once called the Gate of Valentine. St. Valentine's possessions were found and exhumed from a catacomb located in the city of Rome, in the year 1836. They now reside in Dublin, Ireland at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church.
The Catholic church still celebrates St. Valentine's feast day. In 1969, his commemoration was removed from their General Calendar.
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