Skip to comments.St. Leo the Great Pope of Rome February 18th
Posted on 02/17/2006 4:03:04 PM PST by jecIIny
St. Leo the Great Pope of Rome
Saint Leo I the Great, Pope of Rome (440-461), received a fine and diverse education, which opened for him the possibility of an excellent worldly career. He yearned for the spiritual life, however, and so he chose the path of becoming an archdeacon under holy Pope Sixtus III (432-440), after whose death St Leo was chosen as Bishop of Rome in September 440.
These were difficult times for the Church, when heretics assaulted Orthodoxy with their false teachings. St Leo combined pastoral solicitude and goodness with an unshakable firmness in the confession of the Faith. He was in particular one of the basic defenders of Orthodoxy against the heresies of Eutyches and Dioscorus, who taught that there was only one nature in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was also a defender against the heresy of Nestorius.
He exerted all his influence to put an end to the unrest by the heretics in the Church, and by his letters to the holy emperors Theodosius II (408-450) and Marcian (450-457), he actively promoted the convening of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, at Chalcedon in 451, to condemn the heresy of the Monophysites.
At the Council at Chalcedon, at which 630 bishops were present, a letter of St Leo to the deceased St Flavian, Patriarch of Constantinople (447-449) was read. St Flavian had suffered for Orthodoxy under the "Robber Council" of Ephesus in the year 449. In the letter of St Leo the Orthodox teaching about the two natures [the divine and the human] in the Lord Jesus Christ was set forth. All the bishops present at the Council were in agreement with this teaching, and so the heretics Eutyches and Dioscorus were excommunicated from the Church.
St Leo was also a defender of his country against the incursions of barbarians. In 452, by the persuasive power of his words, he stopped Attila the Hun from pillaging Italy. Again in the year 455, when the leader of the Vandals [a Germanic tribe], Henzerich, turned towards Rome, he persuaded him not to pillage the city, burn buildings, nor to spill blood.
He knew the time of his death beforehand, and he prepared himself, with forty days of fasting and prayer, to pass from this world into eternity.
He died in the year 461 and was buried at Rome. His literary and theological legacy is comprised of 96 sermons and 143 letters, of which the best known is his Epistleto St Flavian.
Leo is venerated in the Roman Church as a Doctor of the Church and his feast is kept on November 10th (April 11 on the pre-Vatican II calendar).
Troparion - Tone 8
O Champion of Orthodoxy, and teacher of holiness,
The enlightenment of the universe and the inspired glory of true believers.
O most wise Father Leo, your teachings are as music of the Holy Spirit for us!
Pray that Christ our God may save our souls!
Kontakion - Tone 3
O glorious Leo, when you rose to the Bishop's throne,
You shut the lions' mouths with the true doctrine of the Holy Trinity:
You enlightened your flock with the knowledge of God.
Therefore you are glorified, O seer of things divine!
Also commemorated today:
Venerable Cosmas of Yakhrom
Saint Cosmas of Yakhrom was the servant of a certain nobleman, whom he comforted during his prolonged illness by reading him books. And so, travelling from city to city, they happened to stop at the River Yakhroma. Here in the woods an icon of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to Cosmas, and he heard a voice commanding him to become a monk and to build a monastery. His sick master then received healing from the icon, and Cosmas went to Kiev, where he was tonsured in the Monastery of the Caves. Then with the icon of the Mother of God, and on an inspiration from above, he again went to Yakhrom, 40 versts from the city of Vladimir, constructing a temple in honor of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos with the help of some good Christians.
Brethren began to gather around the monk, and a monastery was formed. St Cosmas was chosen as igumen. During this time, word of the monk's ascetic struggles reached even the Great Prince. St Cosmas died at an advanced old age on February 18, 1492, and was buried in the monastery he founded. His memory is celebrated also on October 14, the day that the Yakhrom Icon of the Mother of God is commemorated.
St Agapitus the Confessor the Bishop of Synnada in Phrygia
Martyrs Agapitus, Victor, Dorotheus, Theodulus and Agrippa St Agapitus was born of Christian parents in Cappadocia during the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (284-305). From his youth he yearned for the monastic life and so he entered a monastery, where he struggled in fasting, prayer, and service to all the brethren of the monastery.
The Lord granted St Agapitus the gift of wonderworking. The emperor, Licinius (311-324), learned that St Agapitus was endowed with great physical strength, and he commanded the saint to be conscripted into military service against his wishes.
During the persecution against the Christians initiated by Licinius, St Agapitus was was wounded by a spear, but remained alive. After the death of the emperor Licinius, he obtained his freedom from military service in the following manner.
The holy Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) heard that St Agapitus had healed people by his prayers. The emperor sent him a sick servant, who also received healing. The emperor wanted to reward St Agapitus, who instead asked only that he be permitted to resign from military service and return to his monastery. Permission was granted, and he joyfully returned to the monastery.
Soon after this, the Bishop of Sinaus in Bithynia summoned St Agapitus and ordained him to the holy priesthood. After the death of the bishop, St Agapitus was unanimously chosen by the clergy and all the people to the See of Sinaus. The new hierarch wisely governed his flock, guiding it in the Orthodox faith and virtuous life. Through his prayers, numerous miracles occurred. The saint died in peace.
St Flavian the Confessor the Patriarch of Constantinople
Saint Flavian the Confessor, Patriarch of Constantinople, occupied the patriarchal throne of Constantinople under the holy Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450) and his sister the holy Empress Pulcheria (September 10).
At first he was a presbyter and caretaker of church-vessels in the cathedral. He became Patriarch after the death of holy Patriarch Proclus (November 20). During this time, various disturbances and heresies threatened church unity.
In the year 448, St Flavian convened a local Council at Constantinople to examine the heresy of Eutyches, which admitted only one nature (the divine) in the Lord Jesus Christ. Persisting in his error, the heretic Eutyches was excommunicated from the Church and deprived of dignity, but Eutyches had a powerful patron in the person of Chrysathios, a eunuch close to the emperor.
Through intrigue Chrysathios brought Bishop Dioscorus of Alexandria over to the side of Eutyches, and obtained permission from the emperor to convene a church council at Ephesus, afterwards known as the "Robber Council."
Dioscorus presided at this council, gaining the acquittal of Eutyches and the condemnation of Patriarch Flavian by threats and force. St Flavian was fiercely beaten up during the sessions of this council by impudent monks led by a certain Barsumas.
Even the impious president of the Robber Council, the heretic Dioscorus, took part in these beatings. After this heavy chains were put upon St Flavian, and he was sentenced to banishment at Ephesus. The Lord, however, ended his further suffering, by sending him his death (+ August 449). The holy Empress Pulcheria withdrew from the imperial court. Soon the intrigues of Chrysathios were revealed. The emperor dismissed him, and restored his sister St Pulcheria. Through her efforts, the relics of holy Patriarch Flavian were reverently transferred from Ephesus to Constantinople.
Orthodox have a memorial for a pope?
Someone might think we're one Church!
Now all we have to do is act like it so the world can 'see'.
Yes. Well, we're still living with the aftermath of that final act in 1054.