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How Valentine’s Day started

21 February 2015 No Comment

As early as the fourth century B.C., the Romans engaged in an annual young man’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus.
The names of teenage women were placed in a box and drawn at random by adolescent men; thus, a man was assigned a woman companion, for their mutual entertainment and pleasure (often sexual), for the duration of a year, after which another lottery was staged.
Determined to put an end to this eight-hundred-year-old practice, the early church fathers sought a “lovers” saint to replace the deity Lupercus. .
In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine had enraged the mad emperor the mad emperor Claudius II, who had issued an edict forbidding marriage.
Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers, because they were loath to leave their families for battle and he abolished marriage.
Valentine, bishop of Interamna, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and invited young lovers to come to him in secret, where he joined them in the sacrament of matrimony.
Claudius had the bishop brought to the palace and, impressed with the young priest’s dignity and conviction, attempted to convert him to the Roman gods, to save him from otherwise certain execution.
Valentine refused to renounce Christianity and imprudently attempted to convert the emperor.
On 24 February 270, Valentine was clubbed, stoned and then beheaded.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
History also claims that while Valentine was in prison awaiting execution, he fell in love with the blind daughter of the jailer, Asterius.
Through his unswerving faith, he miraculously restored her sight.
He signed a farewell message to her “From Your Valentine,” a phrase that would live long after its author died.

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