The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all, at least not in the traditional sense. Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest during the time when Emperor Claudius persecuted the church. Claudius prohibited the marriage of young soldiers based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. Valentine encouraged marriage anyway and secretly married many Roman couples. He was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against Claudius’ orders.
In 269 AD, while in prison, Valentine met the blind daughter of a Roman jailer named Asterius. Valentine prayed with and healed the young girl. This lead Asterius to become a Christian. Before being executed, Valentine wrote a note of encouragement to the girl and signed it, “from your Valentine.” These very words are the inspiration for this famous romantic holiday!