February 20

From the Prologue

Beneath the volcanic Mount Etna in the town of Catania lived Leo the saint, a good shepherd and compassionate teacher of the people. He had great concern for the sick and the poor. His zeal for the Faith was as great as his charity toward the less fortunate. Appearing in Catania was a magician named Heliodorus who deluded the people with various illusions and greatly demoralized the youth. At one time during the Divine Services, Heliodorus entered the church of God and began his obscenities. St. Leo approached him, tied him to one end of his pallium and led him to the market place of the city. Here, Leo ordered that a large fire be built and when the fire was burning, he stood in the middle of the fire and pulled Heliodorus into the fire. Heliodorus was completely consumed and Leo remained alive and unscathed. All who were bewitched by Heliodorus, and who looked upon him as someone divine, were ashamed. The compassionate and the zealous Leo was proclaimed throughout the entire kingdom as a great miracle-worker who, by his shining miracles, helps men. When Leo ended his course, he took up habitation with the Lord and from his relics flowed healing myrrh [Chrism]. He died in the eighth century.

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas