The Story of Saint Valentine

The following story is roughly 20% historically accurate.

English: Saint Valentine kneeling

Image via Wikipedia

Valentine’s Day has become so commercial.

You can’t walk into a store without a heart-shaped visage of a fat baby armed with a bow and arrow being shoved in your face. Heart shaped candy is on every aisle. Buying roses and jewelry has become a must. With all of this, it’s easy to forget where Valentine’s Day came from.

It’s all about a man who had his head sliced off.

The legend of Saint Valentine goes back to the year 269, 270, or 273. They didn’t have great record keeping back then.

In those days, a man named Carl Valentine (can’t prove that’s not right) was hard at work. With the Roman Empire in full control, Christians weren’t allowed to marry. Valentine thought this was unpleasant. He sat about to fix this, creating his own underground wedding chapel called “Valentine’s Little Wedding Chapel.” After all, nothing says romantic wedding like hiding your nuptials from the Roman Centurions.

In the middle of his 237th wedding, a record in that day and age, the Roman army burst in.

“Here ye, here ye!” the head Roman cried. “We are here to arrest one Carl Valentine…wait, that’s really his name? Seriously? Nevertheless we are here to arrest Carl Valentine in the name of the Emperor Claudius II!”

“Do you have to?” Valentine asked.

“Um… yeah, I guess so,” said the Roman. “We have a certain quota to meet and it’s against a couple of laws to marry Christians. You know, sanctity of marriage and all.”

“I understand,” said Valentine with a meek smile. “Let’s go see Claudius.”

Valentine was marched in front of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius hated Christians and hated people who helped Christians. He was a very angry person and there was seemingly no way to get on his good side.

“Emperor Claudius II,” said Valentine. “You are a good and fair emperor. Much better than your father Claudius.”

Claudius was shocked. Having a major inferiority complex, he had always worried that he would never live up to his father’s name. He immediately like Valentine, dreaming of all of the fun they could have together watching Christians be thrown to the lions and stoning random people just for kicks. He had found a new best friend.

“Valentine, you are charged with marrying Christians,” said Claudius. “That’s a pretty big deal to me. What say you?”

“I say that Christians should be married,” said Valentine.

Claudius was floored. His new best buddy was disagreeing with him. This was their first disagreement as friends. He waved Valentine close.

“You know,” he whispered, “All you need to do is say you won’t do it anymore. I like you, so I’ll totally let you go. Then we can go hang out at the bath houses later if you want.”

“That sounds fun,” said Valentine with a smile. “Maybe then we can talk about the fate of your soul? You might like being a Christian.”

The smile dropped from Claudius’ face. He did not want to be a Christian. He hated Christians. Claudius did not like having disagreements with his friends, so he knew that he would have to end this friendship right here.

“I sentence you to death!” cried Claudius.

The next few minutes were a flurry of clubs and stones. Valentine was hit repeatedly and lay on the floor bleeding.

“There! That should fix the problem,” said Claudius.

“Yeah,” Valentine said as blood came from his mouth. “It will probably be a few weeks before I can marry another Christian.”

That was very unexpected. The Romans thought that, after a beating like that, Valentine would just curl up in a ball and die. That’s usually what happened when they stoned and clubbed a person. He seemed intent on continuing to break the law, though.

Thinking hard, they tried to figure out how to stop him. They could disembowel Valentine, but he didn’t really need bowels to marry people. If he survived that, he would just continue on his marry little way. Removing limbs wouldn’t really help. That’s when they thought of it. If he had no mouth, he couldn’t really marry people. You need to be able to speak to marry people. It seemed impossible to continue after that.

That’s why they cut off his head, officially making him a martyr.

This is just one of seven possible stories about Saint Valentine. All of them end with his head being removed, though. There is a major consensus that Valentine had no head at the end of his story. This head removal has led to the most romantic holiday of all time.

That’s why we celebrate with paper hearts and candy and fat babies who shoot sharp objects at people. It’s what Valentine would have wanted.

Well, actually he would have wanted to continue marrying Christians and to retain his head, but is it really that different?

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14 thoughts on “The Story of Saint Valentine

  1. So, we should celebrate the man St. Valentine on the day after the commercialized Valentine’s Day. That is when everything is a percentage off…just like Valentine himself after they chopped off his head, right?

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