SAINT LEO I

February 18

From the Prologue

Leo was born in Italy of devout parents. At first, he served as archdeacon under Pope Sixtus III and following the death of Sixtus was elevated against his will to the throne of the Pope of Rome. When Attila, with his Huns, drew near to Rome was prepared to destroy and to set fire to the city, Leo came out before him in his episcopal vestments mitigated the wrath of the leader of the Huns and averted the destruction of Rome. As much as Attila allowed himself to be counseled by this holy man so also had he to be afraid of the vision of the Apostles Peter and Paul who stood along side Leo and with flaming swords threatened him. Not only did St. Leo save Rome, but he also contributed much to save Orthodoxy from the heresy of Eutyches and Dioscorus. This heresy consisted in the merging of the divine and human natures of Christ into one and following this, in the denial of the two wills in the person of the Lord Savior. Because of this, the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon 451 A.D.] was convened at which time the Epistle of St. Leo was read. St. Leo had written this epistle and placed it on the tomb of St. Peter, who corrected it. Before his death, Leo spent forty days in fasting and prayer at the tomb of St. Peter, beseeching him to tell him whether his sins are forgiven. The Apostle Peter appeared to him and said that all of his sins are forgiven except the sins of ordaining priests when it is evident how grave a sin it is to ordain one who is unworthy. The saint again fell into prayer until he was told that even those sins were forgiven. He peacefully gave up his soul to the Lord. St. Leo died in the year 461 A.D





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