The first Valentine
Posted on February 13, 2012
My daughter was reading a book about saints and heroes. One of the stories in that book includes the story of first valentine. I thought of sharing this interesting story in time for Valentine’s day.
It’s a story that begins with the early history of Rome around 270 AD until it end up to challenge the mail systems of the world for valentine card exchange among millions and millions of people in the planet up to this day. How cool is that?
St. Valentine was a priest of the “outlawed Christian Church” in Rome during the days of Emperor Claudius II. Valentine or Valentinus in his ancient name, was a holy and fearless man. During that time, Christians are being persecuted, jailed, and treated as criminals (I think this is still true to this day except that it is done in a different medium and modern way).
He ministered faithfully to fellow believers who had been placed in prisons. He even converted a Roman officer named Asterius. Pagan soldiers started to recognize him and it is said that Velentinus would perform secret marriage ceremeonies for Roman guards and their lovers who so desired.
The Emperor heard this and sent Valentinus to the prefect of Rome to make him renounce his faith. When they found out that it was impossible for Valentinus to deny his faith, the Emperor ordered Valentinus’ death. He was beaten and beheaded on the Flaminian way on the 14th day of February, 270 A.D. A church was later erected on the spot where he was killed.
There are other versions of St. Valentine stories but whoever he was, his existence was proven by archaeologists who have unearthed a Roman catacomb and an ancient church dedicated to Saint Valentine. It was in 496 AD when Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of his martyrdom.
I wanted to surprise my kids with something sweet when they get home from school. I thought of making brownies to celebrate the feast of St. Valentine. So here’s part of my kitchen activities today:
Here’s how I started it… I like to use peanuts but all I have is a package of Brazilian nuts, it’s equally yum!