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Leo the Great, Pope of Rome

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February 18

Reading:

According to some, this Saint was born in Rome, but according to others in Tyrrenia (Tuscany), and was consecrated to the archiepiscopal throne of Rome in 440. In 448, when Saint Flavian, Archbishop of Constantinople, summoned Eutyches, an archimandrite in Constantinople, to give account for his teaching that there was only one nature in Christ after the Incarnation, Eutyches appealed to Saint Leo in Rome. After Saint Leo had carefully examined Eutyches's teachings, he wrote an epistle to Saint Flavian, setting forth the Orthodox teaching of the person of Christ, and His two natures, and also counseling Flavian that, should Eutyches sincerely repent of his error, he should be received back with all good will. At the Council held in Ephesus in 449, which was presided over by Dioscorus, Patriarch of Alexandria (and which Saint Leo, in a letter to the holy Empress Pulcheria in 451, was the first to call "The Robber Council"), Dioscorus, having military might behind him, did not allow Saint Leo's epistle to Flavian to be read, although repeatedly asked to do so; even before the Robber Council was held, Dioscorus had uncanonically received the unrepentant Eutyches back into communion. Because Saint Leo had many cares in Rome owing to the wars of Attila the Hun and other barbarians, in 451 he sent four delegates to the Fourth Ecumenical Council, where 630 Fathers gathered in Chalcedon during the reign of Marcian, to condemn the teachings of Eutyches and those who supported him. Saint Leo's epistle to Flavian was read at the Fourth Council, and was confirmed by the Holy Fathers as the Orthodox teaching on the incarnate person of our Lord; it is also called the "Tome of Leo." The Saint wrote many works in Latin; he reposed in 461. See also Saint Anatolius, July 3.

Apolytikion of Leo the Great in the Fourth Tone

A model of faith and the image of gentleness, the example of your life has shown you forth to your sheep-fold to be a master of temperance. You obtained thus through being lowly, gifts from on high, and riches through poverty. Leo, our father and priest of priests, intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion of Leo the Great in the Third Tone

Seated on the priestly throne, O great and glorious Leo, with the Holy Trinity's inspired and God-given doctrines thou didst stop the gaping mouths of spiritual lions and didst shine upon thy flock the light of God-knowledge, and art glorified now as a divine initiate of the sublime grace of God.