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*My Heart Will Go On*

The First Valentine

The history of St. Valentine's Day begins in Rome,
in 270 AD . The Roman Emperor, Claudius II
demanded that everyone worship the pagan gods
that he worshipped. He also abolished marriage,
and arrested anyone who disobeyed his rule.
Many Christians were tortured and killed, for their
faith in God and trust in Jesus.

There was a priest named Valentine who, despite
the law of Claudius, continued to preach the word
of God and perform marriage ceremonies, until he
also was arrested and put in jail; but even the prison
walls could not keep Valentine from proclaiming his
love of God. He ministered to the prisoners and
guards alike, converting many to Christianity. One of
the guards had a daughter who was blind, and he
brought her to Valentine to pray for her sight.

blind girl

The guard knew that his life would be in great
danger if he was found with Valentine, but
his faith was greater than his fear; and so,
he prayed with Valentine, and the girl was
blessed by God, her vision restored.


News of this miracle quickly spread, and when
the Emperor discovered that Valentine was still
preaching the word of God, he gave the order to
have Valentine put to death by beheading.

While awaiting his execution, Valentine wrote
a *goodbye* letter to the girl who had received
the miracle of sight. She had visited Valentine
in prison whenever she could, and they had
grown quite fond of one another. Valentine
signed his letter to her "from your Valentine".
His execution took place on February 14th.


from your Valentine

It was because Valentine risked his life to
preach the word of God, and because he
died for God, that he was deemed a martyr
and known thereafter as *Saint* Valentine.
His love for God and for people everywhere
is symbolized today, by the giving of what
we now call *Valentine* cards.

About this story

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*The First Valentine*
written by Donna Sheehan
Copyright ©2000 All rights reserved

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