St Valentine is a 3rd-century saint universally known as the patron saint of romance. Although his feast is marked by both believers and non-believers, not much is certain about his life. His biography may be based on the lives of two individuals rather than one. But scholars agree that he was martyred and buried on the Via Flaminia leading out of Rome.
One legend holds that St Valentine, a bishop, was placed under house arrest by a judge named Asterius. He presented his blind daughter to Valentine and told him to restore her sight. The judge said that if Valentine succeeded he would do anything he asked. The saint placed his hands on her eyes and her vision was restored.
Humbled and amazed, Judge Asterius fasted for three days and was baptised along with his family and all his household. He also freed all his Christian inmates.
Sentenced to death
Valentine was later arrested for trying to convert people to Christianity and sent to Rome by Emperor Claudius II. While there he was imprisoned again, for marrying Christian couples and helping the faithful who were being persecuted by the emperor. Eventually the saint managed to open a dialogue with the emperor, but when he tried to convince Claudius of the truth of Christianity, the emperor became enraged and sentenced Valentine to death.
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