Valentinus (St. Valentine) was condemned to be beaten with clubs, then beheaded, February 14, 269 A.D. His crime? He was conducting weddings and marriages in secret in defiance of the emperor's decree. He was declared a saint in 496. Feb. 14 was chosen for his execution because it was a festival day for a Roman goddess. According to tradition, Valentine sent love letters to his parishioners from prison.