February 2009 - St. Valentine

St. ValentineSt. Valentine was a priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs during the persecutions under Claudius II.  He also defied a ban on performing marriages for soldiers. He was apprehended, and condemned to be executed on February 14, about the year 269. After the persecution a church was built in his memory near his place of martyrdom at the gate of Ponte Mole.  His relics are now venerated in the church of St. Praxedes in Rome. His name is recorded as that of an illustrious martyr in several calendars of the Eastern and Western Church on February 14th and several other dates.  Some histories state he was a bishop.

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in 1493. Alongside a woodcut portrait of him a text states that St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius the Goth. Since he was caught marrying Christian couples and aiding any Christians who were being persecuted he was arrested and condemned to death.

Saints are not supposed to rest in peace; they're expected to keep busy: to perform miracles and to intercede with God on our behalf. Many miracles of healing are attributed to the intercession of St. Valentine.  He is the Patron Saint of married couples, engaged couples, happy marriages, and young people. He is often represented in icons with birds and a rose.

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