Why is St. Valentine so Important?

By | February 14, 2021

[February 14, 2021]   On this date, February 14 in 270 AD, Valentine, a Catholic Priest, is executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II for marrying young Christian lovers.  The people knew Claudius as “Claudius the Cruel.” What can we learn from the events in the life of who we know today as St. Valentine?

First, a little context about the Roman Empire at this time.

At the time of Claudius’ accession as Emperor, the Roman Empire was in danger from several major incursions, both within and outside its borders.  The Goths, for example, were an existential threat to the Romans.  Shortly after Claudius was named Emperor, he won his most significant victory and one of the greatest in Roman arms’ history at the Battle of Naissus, where his forces routed a massive Gothic army.

Claudius was seen as a “cruel” ruler by many of his time, which has given way to a negative, brutish view of him.  However, given his successes by defeating major enemies of the Empire, we gain some insight into the circumstances of that day

Catholic Priest Valentine comes into the sights of Claudius.

Emperor Claudius was having trouble getting soldiers for his army Legions because they wanted to stay with their wives and children.  One way he improved the manpower pool and enlarge his armies was that Claudius banned marriage and forbade priests from marrying.  He believed that married men would be distracted by their wives and children and make poor soldiers.

Valentine, feeling the plight of the young lovers, continued to marry them in secret.  Of course, the Emperor found out and had Valentine jailed.  Claudius took a liking to Valentine until the priest tried to convince Claudius to embrace Christianity.  Claudius refused and condemned Valentine to death.  It was commanded that Valentine either renounce his faith or he would be beaten, tortured, and then executed.

On February 14, 270 AD, he was beaten and beheaded.  Shortly before he was executed, he allegedly wrote a note to one of the guard’s daughters, signing it “Your Valentine.”

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine’s Day for his defense of love and marriage.  Priest Valentine was loyal and courageous.  Nothing can deny those characteristics, and that is why we hold him in such high regard.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

13 thoughts on “Why is St. Valentine so Important?

  1. rjsmithers

    Very good article, Gen. Satterfield. I like the way you present information on your website, nearly all with a story to remember.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Yes, and to all lovers out there, don’t let a few minor obstacles stand in the way of your marriage and commitment to one another. Love is not an easy thing to hold onto. Hold onto it as much as you can. It keeps us young and happy.

  2. Mikka Solarno

    Another top-notch article and this time on a man who we know little about.

  3. William DeSanto

    Thanks to Gen. Satterfield, we get a bit of insight into the life of a dedicated Catholic Priest. From what we know about him, the key idea was that he stood for his beliefs in the face of certain death. That is a hero in my book.

    1. Len Jakosky

      Hero — yes! Dedicated priest — yes! Patron saint — yes! Good, moral man — yes!

  4. José Luis Rodriguez

    Good article to start my Valentine’s Day with my wife and kids.

  5. Greg Heyman

    St. Valentine, (died 3rd century, Rome; feast day February 14), name of one or two legendary Christian martyrs whose lives seem to be historically based. Although the Roman Catholic Church continues to recognize St. Valentine as a saint of the church, he was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969 because of the lack of reliable information about him. He is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers.

  6. Max Foster

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for an article on Saint Valentine. What little we know about him, tells us a lot about us as flawed humans as well. I recommend others read more about this man. I know that much of what we know is second or third hand information that has been retold verbally and thus much is lost about his life. But his actions to wed couples in a time of upheaval in the Roman Empire stands out as a selfless act of kindness and love.

    1. Rowen Tabernackle

      — and the reason St. Valentine is a saint recognized by the Catholic Church. We know what is truly good and his marrying people was one of the greater goods of that time.

    2. Kenny Foster

      Thank you Max. Yes, we are all flawed but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to set things right. We first do it by telling the truth and then adopting responsibility like St. Valentine did.

  7. Lady Hawk

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all. I hope you are with your love ones today. If not, give them a call to tell them you love them.


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