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Saint Leo the Great, pope of Rome

This great pope was born in Rome in a noble Tuscany family. He acquired an excellent high education that combined both the religious and secular knowledge. Pope Sixtus III made him his counselor. And after his death in the year 440, Leon was elected his successor with the majority of votes.

As soon as he was enthroned on the Seat of Peter, he appeared like a strong lion, as his name means, defending the rights of the Church with great courage and vast knowledge and deep virtue. His beautiful encyclicals traveled the East and the West fighting down the heresies; which rose up during his papacy, especially the heresy of Euticha. In the year 451 and after a request from the king Markianos the Eastern Roman Emperor, Pope Leo ordered the meeting of the Chalcedonian Council, which was attended by some 630 bishops who condemned the teachings of Dioscoros and Euticha, and confirmed the teaching of Pope Leo and Flavianos Bishop of Constantinople. Pope Leo sent his delegate to preside the Chalcedonian Council in his name. When this delegate read the Pope’s letter before the Council’s fathers, they cried out: “Peter spoke to us in Leo”, and adopted the Pope’s famous letter as their creed, and wrote to him back saying that: “you preside over as, just as the head presides over the whole body.”

When Attila the king of Huns (451) marched to conquer the Italian kingdoms, Pope Leo was able, thanks to his wisdom and diplomacy to stop that march, and save Italy from a painful destruction.

In the year 459, Pope Leo, prohibited public confessions and ordered that confession must be heard in private. He was also the first to establish Papal Nuncios throughout the world. After a long life of holiness, pope Leo passed to eternal life in November 4th, 461 where he continues to glorify God.

It is important here to note that the monks and people of our father Saint Maron, have been distinguished by their faithfulness to the teaching of the Chalcedonian Council, and to the letters of Pope Leo. So that they were called “Chalcedonians” and the “offspring of Leo”, and had to defend their Catholic faith with several martyrs, especially the 350 monks disciples of Saint Maron, whom we remember on July 31st. May the prayers of Saint Leo be with us always. Amen.