This is the exact Valentine's Day Message as sent to our mailing list at Good Works On Earth.

           Good Works On Earth Home Page: Archive: Message #100
           Date:  Feb 11 2000 09:41:15 EST
           From: Good Works On Earth
           Subject:  Valentine's Day - The Story

                                 Greetings from Good Works On Earth

                                  We received this story below today.
           Subject:  How Valentine's Day began

           ST. VALENTINE'S DAY  - How It All Began

           The story of Valentine's Day begins in the third century with an
           oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian martyr. The
           emperor was Claudius II Gothicus. The Christian was Valentinus.

           Claudius had ordered all Romans to worship the state religion's
           idols, and he had made it a crime punishable by death to associate
           with Christians.

           But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ, and not even
           the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs.

           During the last weeks of Valentinus's life a remarkable thing
           happened. One day a jailer for the Emperor of Rome knocked at
           Valentinus's door clutching his blind daughter in his arms. He had
           learned of Valentinus's medical and spiritual healing abilities, and
           appealed to Valentinus to treat his daughter's blindness. She had
           been blind since birth.

           Valentinus knew her condition would be difficult to treat but he gave
           the man his word he would do his best. The little girl was examined,
           given an ointment for her eyes and a series of re-visits were scheduled.

           Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his
           daughter, Julia, might also be brought to Valentinus for lessons.
           Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentinus read
           stories of Rome's history to her. He described the world of nature
           to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw
           the world through his eyes, trusted in his wisdom, and found
           comfort in his quiet strength.

           'Valentinus, does God really hear our prayers?' Julia said one day.

           'Yes, my child, He hears each one, 'he replied.

           'Do you know what I pray for every morning and every night?
           I pray that I might see. I want so much to see everything you've
           told me about!'

           'God does what is best for us if we will believe in Him,' Valentinus

           'Oh, Valentinus, I do believe,' Julia said intensely. 'I do.' She
           knelt and grasped his hand. They sat quietly together, each praying.

           Several weeks passed and the girl's sight was not restored. Yet the
           man and his daughter never wavered in their faith and returned each

           Then one day, Valentinus received a visit from Roman soldiers who
           arrested him, destroyed his medicines and admonished him for his
           religious beliefs. When the little girl's father learned of his arrest
           imprisonment, he wanted to intervene but there was nothing he could do.

           On the eve of his death, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia -
           knowing his execution was imminent. Valentinus asked the jailer
           for a paper, pen and ink. He quickly jotted a farewell note and
           handed it to the jailer to give to his blind daughter. He urged her
           to stay close to God, and he signed it 'From Your Valentine.' His
           sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 270 AD, near
           a gate that was later named Porta Valentini in his memory.

           When the jailer went home, he was greeted by his little girl. The
           little girl opened the note and discovered a yellow crocus inside.
           The message said, 'From your Valentine.' As the little girl looked
           down upon the crocus that spilled into her palm she saw brilliant
           colors for the first time in her life! The girl's eyesight was restored!
           A miracle!

           He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome. It
           is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near
           his grave.

           Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and
           friendship. In 496 Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as Saint
           Valentine's Day. On each Valentine's Day, messages of affection,
           love and devotion are still exchanged around the world.
       ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The following information was sent to us on February 12, 2004:

The Roman Catholic Church counts at least eight saints by the name of Valentine, three of them having February 14 as their feast day. Several of the stories goes like this:  The Roman emperor Claudius II decreed that soldiers could not marry. Around 269 AD, a certain priest or bishop named Valentine defiantly began marrying couples in secret (by some accounts, he banned marriage altogether). This of course did not sit well with Claudius, who had the saint beheaded.
Another tale tells us of a perhaps different Valentine who was seized by authorities during one of the periodic Roman persecutions of Christians. He developed a reputation, while in prison, for great wisdom in counseling the young, especially in matters of the heart. Further, he is said to have healed the blind daughter of the jailor -- and fell in love with the girl as well. Valentine, before he was executed, wrote and passed a short note on to her that read: 'With love, from your Valentine'. This was the first 'Valentine.'
Valentine was said to have been beheaded on February 14th, on the eve of the all important Roman festival called the Lupercalia. This was virtually an erotic carnival, one of the most ancient Roman festivals, which was celebrated every year in honour of Lupercus, the god of fertility.  The festival was held every year, on the 15th of February, and goes back to the origins of the Romans as a shepherding people. The rituals involved the sacrifice of goats (proverbial for their sexual energy) by noble young men (ditto) who then ate and drank heavily, clad themselves scantily in the goat skins, from which they also cut long, thin strips. Holding these thongs in their hands, they ran through the streets of the city, touching everyone they saw, especially women, who used to gather voluntarily for the purpose, since they believed that this ceremony rendered them more fruitful, and procured them an easy delivery in childbearing. The goat-skin itself was called februum.
The second day of the Lupercalia celebrations was sacred to the Goddess Juno Februata, Juno the Fructifier (some derive the title from febris, 'of the fever [of love]'). On this day, more sedate Roman youths, not interested in being involved in the lupercalian ceremonies, drew names of young ladies who were to be their romantic/sexual partners for that evening, (sometimes the couples thus chosen would continue this patnership for the remainder of the year).
Although the lottery for sexual partners had been banned by the church as 'heathen', the mid-February holiday celebration continued.  The church, unable to stop the practice so enjoyed by young men and women, searched for a suitable substitute saint to patronize the day. So, Saint Valentine was to become the chosen saint.

Thus, it became a tradition to give the beloved and admired one handwritten messages of enamored and romantic intention, containing St. Valentine's named inscribed within. This served a double purpose, for to draw the name of a saint would require that the man or woman  would have to emulate that saint's celibate qualities for at least one year. And instead of honoring a 'pagan' God or Goddess, St. Valentine, a Christian icon, was honored instead. In this way the Church sought a way to contain all the youthful erotic energy within the bounds of right-thinking saints' cults. (Yeah, right :-))  Of course, there is a long history of baptizing pre-Christian practices; St. Gregory the Great advised his missionary to the pagan English, Saint Augustine of Kent, not to destroy the pagan temples, but to 'go to the fanes' so that the converts 'can assemble at the places which they are accustomed to come to.'
In the middle ages, folklore held that birds gathered on February 14 to choose their mates for the year. Certain birds, swans and doves or pigeons, for example, mate for life, and were special symbols of romantic devotion. Chaucer's 'Parliament of Fowls' takes place on St. Valentine's day. This was before the separation of the words 'bride' (meaning a young woman rather than a woman getting married) and 'bird' (which still means 'girl' in somewhat dated and rude British slang). The belief that birds chose their mates on Saint Valentine's Day came to America with the colonists and lasted throughout the nineteenth century in the Ozark hill country, where the people thought not only birds but rabbits began their mating season on February 14.
Valentines as we know them were first created by the French Duke of Orleans, Charles. They were termed 'amorous addresses.' At the end of the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, Charles was locked up in the Tower of London where in his free time he sent these 'addresses' to his wife.

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