Death and Valentine’s Day

Posted on February 2, 2022 by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah under Death, Holidays, Valentine's Day
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I was surprised to learn that Valentine’s Day may have a history rooted in death – and violence, for that matter.  An article on entitled “This Day in History – February 14 – St. Valentine beheaded” is a very interesting read.  Written by the editors and originally published on November 24, 2009, the article details the life of Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II.  On February 14, around the year 270 A.D., Valentine was allegedly executed.

Quoting the article, “Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it ‘From Your Valentine.’  For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, ‘At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.’ One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.”

No matter the origin of the holiday, Valentine’s Day is a day to remember and appreciate those we love.  It’s important to remember never to take for granted the time we have to spend together.

Serenity Funeral Home is located just off Riverside Drive at 1316 S. 400 E., St. George, UT, (435) 986-2085,  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SerenityFuneralSTG.

Submitted by W. Russell Atkin, Licensed Funeral Director/Owner

Photo by Adobe Stock

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