On This Day (February 14th)

On this day, Circa 278 AD, Valentine, a holy Roman priest in the days of Emperor Gothicus, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius, also tagged “Claudius the Cruel,” Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody military campaigns.The emperor had to maintain a mighty army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to enlist and remain because of their strong, erect and abiding familial attachments to their wives and children.

To combat the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, known as “The Love Priest,” fought the injustice of the decree and defied Claudius, continuing 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 execution. Beaten with clubs and pelted with stones, hearty Valentine was still standing, and hence his head was cut off, finally achieving the desired effect; the sentence was carried out on February 14.

The above apocryphal account also holds 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, and for inspiring the entire discography of the band “Bread,” and most soft-rock hits of the 70’s, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

And here our lesson of love and Alan Almond endeth.

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.

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