7 February 2010

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A Note From Saint Valentine

Valentine's Day Celebrated Across The World


Eric V. Allen, our Guest Writer
for today's post, was so determined
to get first hand information regarding
who should be thanked/blamed for having
started the Valentine's Day tradition that
he decided to travel back in time to
Emperor Claudius' Rome to get it...


(That particular travel in time was no
picnic as, apparently, there was no internet
or even mobile phones during Claudius' life.

And, believe it or not, they didn't have TVs
either in those days... Yikes!)



So, thanks to Eric's dedication, we are
now in possession of the equivalent of an
exclusive interview with Mr Saint Valentine
himself.


Enjoy.

Loup Dargent

Trial Of A Saint



A Note From
Saint Valentine
-
A First Person
Tale Of This
Wonderful Day

Eric V. Allen


Let me introduce myself. My name is Valentine.
I lived in Rome during the third century. That was long,
long ago! At that time, Rome was ruled by an emperor
named Claudius. I didn't like Emperor Claudius, and
I wasn't the only one! A lot of people shared my feelings.


Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected men
to volunteer to join. Many men just did not want to fight
in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families.
As you might have guessed, not many men signed up.
This made Claudius furious. So what happened? He had
a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married,
they would not mind joining the army. So Claudius decided
not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought
his new law was cruel. I thought it was preposterous!
I certainly wasn't going to support that law!


Did I mention that I was a priest? One of my favourite
activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor
Claudius passed his law, I kept on performing marriage
ceremonies -- secretly, of course. It was really quite
exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the
bride and groom and myself. We would whisper the words
of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers.


One night, we did hear footsteps. It was scary! Thank goodness
the couple I was marrying escaped in time. I was caught. (Not
quite as light on my feet as I used to be, I guess.) I was thrown
in jail and told that my punishment was death.


I tried to stay cheerful. And do you know what? Wonderful
things happened. Many young people came to the jail to
visit me. They threw flowers and notes up to my window.
They wanted me to know that they, too, believed in love.


One of these young people was the daughter of the prison
guard. Her father allowed her to visit me in the cell. Sometimes
we would sit and talk for hours. She helped me to keep my
spirits up. She agreed that I did the right thing by ignoring the
Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the
day I was to die, I left my friend a little note thanking her for her
friendship and loyalty. I signed it, "Love from your Valentine."


I believe that note started the custom of exchanging love
messages on Valentine's Day. It was written on
the day I died, February 14, 269 A.D.


Now, every year on this day, people remember. But
most importantly, they think about love and friendship.
And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember
how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh --
because they know that love can't be beaten!








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