Valentinus dicitur quasi valorem tenens, hoc est, in sanctitate perseverans. vel dicitur Valentinus, quasi valens tyro, id est, miles Christi. miles dicitur valens, qui nunquam cecidit, fortiter ferit, se valenter defendit, potenter vincit. sic Valentinus non cessit martirium vitando, percussit ydololatriam evacuando, defendit fidem communiendo, vicit patiendo. Valentinus reverendus presbiter fuit, quem Claudius imperator ad se adduci faciens interrogavit dicens: “quid est, Valentine? cur amicitia nostra non frueris, ut Deos nostros adores et superstitionem tuae abiicias vanitatis?” cui Valentinus: “si gratiam Dei scires, ista nequaquam diceres, sed ab ydolis animum revocares et Deum, qui est in coelis , adorares.” tunc quidam, qui Claudio adstabat, dixit: “quid vis dicere, Valentine, de sanctitate Deorum nostrorum?” cui Valentinus: “ego de iis nil dico, nisi quod fuerunt homines miseri et omni immunditia pleni.” ad quem Claudius: “si Christus verus Deus est, cur mihi non dicis, quod verum est?” cui Valentinus: “vere Christus solus est Deus, in quem si credideris, anima tua salvabitur, respublica augebitur, omnium inimicorum tibi victoria concedetur.” respondens autem Claudius adstantibus dixit: “viri Romani, audite, quam sapienter et recte homo loquitur iste. tunc dixit praefectus: “seductus est imperator: quomodo deseremus, quod ab infantia tenuimus?” et tunc cor Claudii immutatum est. traditur autem cuidam principi in custodiam et cum in domum eius ductus fuisset, dixit: “domine Jesu Christe, verum lumen, illumina domum istam, ut te verum Deum cognoscant.” cui praefectus: “miror te dicentem, quod Christus est lumen: equidem si filiam meam diu caecam illuminaverit, faciam quaecunque praeceperis.” tunc Valentinus orans eius filiam caecam illuminavit et omnes de domo sua convertit. tunc imperator Valentinum decollari praecepit circa annum domini CCLXXX.
(Jacobus de Voragine, Leg. Aur. 42)
The name Valentine, in Latin Valentinus, is made up of valorem, value, and tenens, holding; and Saint Valentine held on to—persevered in—holiness. Or the name is like valens tiro, valiant soldier of Christ. A valiant soldier is one who has never fallen, who strikes hard, defends himself bravely, and conquers decisively. Thus Valentine never failed by shunning martyrdom, he struck hard by putting down idolatry, he defended his faith by confessing it, he conquered by suffering.
Valentine was a venerable priest, whom the emperor Claudius summoned before him. “What is this, Valentine?” he asked. “Why do you not win our friendship by adoring our gods and abandoning your vain superstitions?” Valentine answered: “If you but knew the grace of God, you would not say such things! You would turn your mind away from your idols and adore the God who is in heaven.” One of the people standing by Claudius said: “Valentine, what have you to say about the holiness of our gods?” “All I have to say about them,” Valentine replied, “is that they were wretched human beings full of every uncleanness!” Claudius spoke: “If Christ is true God, why do you not tell me the truth?” Valentine: “Truly Christ alone is God! If you believe in him, your soul will be saved, the empire will prosper, and you will be granted victory over all your enemies!” Claudius responded, saying to those around him: “Men of Rome, heed how wisely and rightly this man speaks!” Then the prefect said: “The emperor is being led astray! How shall we give up what we have believed from infancy?” At this the heart of Claudius was hardened, and he turned Valentine over to the prefect to be held in custody. When Valentine came into this man’s house, he said: “Lord Jesus Christ, true light, enlighten this house and let all here know you as true God!” The prefect said: “I wonder at hearing you say that Christ is light. Indeed, if he gives light to my daughter who has been blind for a long time, I will do whatever you tell me to do!” Valentine prayed over the daughter, her sight was restored, and the whole household was converted to the faith. Then the emperor ordered Valentine to be beheaded, about A.D. 280. (tr. William Granger Ryan)