In the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius II was faced with defending the Roman Empire from the invading Goths. He believed men who were not married made better soldiers so he forced the military to ban traditional marriage. He also forced the Senate to deify the former Emperor Gallienus, including him with the Roman gods to be worshiped.
There were ten major persecutions of Christians in the first three centuries in which many historical records were destroyed, but the legend passed down in Legenda Sanctorum by Jacobus de Voragine, 1260, was that Saint Valentine was a priest or bishop in Italy.
When the Emperor demanded the Church violate its conscience and worship pagan idols, Bishop Valentine refused to comply. Valentine risked the Emperor’s wrath by standing up for traditional marriage and secretly marrying young men and women.
Saint Valentine was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and then have his head cut off on...