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date: 12 December 2018

Leo (1) I, 'the Great', pope, 440–461 CE

As deacon, though an unoriginal theologian, he influenced Popes Celestine I and Sixtus III on doctrine, and served in secular diplomacy. As pope, he purged Manichaeans (see manichaeism) from Rome, in partnership with senate and emperor, and attacked Pelagians (see pelagius) and Priscillianists. He intervened against Eutychian Monophysitism, opposing the council of Ephesus (449), which had spurned his Christological manifesto; this Tome was accepted at Chalcedon (451). He annulled Chalcedon's equation of Rome and Constantinople, but improved contact with Constantinople, establishing an apocrisiarius (secretary). Proclaiming the authority of St. Peter, through interventions and administrative restructurings, and despite worsening communications, he strengthened papal power in the Balkans and crumbling western provinces. (However, Valentinian III's grant of primacy throughout the west (445) implies imperial supremacy.) His buildings, iconography, liturgies, cult of St. Peter, and encouragement of charity and observance of the Christian calendar enhanced Rome's sacred status. Confronting Attila (451) and Gaiseric (454), he helped to turn back the Huns and minimize the Vandal sack. His surviving letters (many drafted by others) and 96 sermons are lucid and forceful, with imperial and liturgical resonances.



Ed. Migne, Patrologiae Cursus 54–6.Find this resource:

Letters: ed. C. Silva-Tarrouca, in Textus et Documenta (1932–5).Find this resource:

Ed. E. Schwartz, Acta Conciliorum Oecumenicorum 2/4 (1932).Find this resource:

E. Hunt, Letters (1957), Eng. trans. of all.Find this resource:

Sermons, ed. A. Chavasse, Corpus Christianorum, series Latina 138 (1973).Find this resource:

R. Dolle, Sermons (2nd edn., 1964–73), with Fr. trans.Find this resource:

C. L. Feltoe, The Letters and Sermons of Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome (1895).Find this resource:

E. Caspar, Geschichte des Papstums 1 (1930).Find this resource:

P. A. McShane, La Romanitas et le Pape Léon le Grand (1979).Find this resource:

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