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Leo I, the Great

Wace's Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

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Leo (5) I., the Great, saint, bp. of Rome, a.d. 440–461. We know but little of him before his papacy. He himself and Prosper of Aquitaine call Rome his "patria" (Prosp. Chron., Patr. Lat. li. 599; Leo Mag. Ep. xxxi. 4, p. 85, Migne). His birth must have been about the last decade of the 4th cent. He is said (Vig. Taps. contra Eutych. lib. iv.) to have been baptized by Celestine; but if so, this must have been while Celestine was still a simple priest. There is no trace in his writings that his education comprised any study of pagan authors, and he was throughout life ignorant of Greek ( Epp. cxxx. 3, p. 1258; cxiii. 4, p. 1194); but his elaborate style indicates considerable training in composition. In 418 we hear, in the letters of St. Augustine ( Epp. cxci. cxciv. 1), of a certain acolyte Leo, the bearer of a letter from Sixtus, afterwards pope, to Aurelius of Carthage and apparently also of pope Zosimus's letter in condemnation of Pelagianism, addressed to Aurelius, St. Augustine, and the other African bishops. The mention of Sixtus, with whom Leo was afterwards connected, and the date of the occurrence, would lead us to identify this acolyte with Leo the Great. If so, it is interesting that he should have come in contact early in life with the greatest of Latin theologians. Under the pontificate of Celestine (422–432) he was a deacon, or (according to Gennadius, de Vir. Illus. 61) archdeacon of Rome. His important place in the church is shewn by two incidents. In 430 the treatise of Cassian, de Incarnatione, against the Nestorians, was written at Leo's exhortation, and. dedicated to him with every expression of respect (Cassian, de Incarn. Praef. Migne, Patr. Lat. i. p. 11). In 431, during the council of Ephesus, St. Cyril of Alexandria wrote to Leo against the ambitious design of juvenal of Jerusalem to obtain for his see the dignity of a patriarchate ( Ep. cxix. 4., p. 1216). In 439 Leo, on the alert against the Pelagians, urged the pope to offer a vigilant resistance to the movements of Julian of Eclanum, who was seeking to obtain readmission to the church without any real recantation of his errors (Prosper, Chron., Patr. Lat. li. 598). Very soon after; Leo was sent on an important civil embassy to Gaul. The Western empire was in a condition of extreme weakness. Nominally governed by Placidia and her youthful son Valentinian III., the real power lay almost wholly in the hands of the general Aetius, at this moment engaged in a quarrel in Gaul with general Albinus. It is a sign of the important civil position held by Leo the deacon that he was chosen to endeavour to bring about a reconciliation (Prosper, Chron., Patr. Lat. li. p. 599). During his prolonged absence pope Sixtus died, and Leo was promptly elected, and an embassy sent to recall him to Rome. "More than forty days," says Prosper, "the Roman church was without a bishop, awaiting with wonderful peace and patience the arrival of the deacon Leo." He was consecrated Sept. 29, 440. The first of his extant works is a brief sermon on this occasion, de Natali Ipsius, in which he praises God and returns thanks to the people, asking their prayers for the success of his ministry. (For date of consecration see Ballerini's note, Patr. Lat. lv. 193; Tillem. xv. note 2 on St. Leo.)

It was a difficult and trying time. The Eastern empire was in its normal state of "premature decay," the Western empire was tottering to its fall. Africa was already a prey to Genseric and the Vandals. The devastation of the African church was well-nigh complete. The church at large was in evil case. Without, she was encompassed by the Arian powers; within the Manicheans, the Priscillianists, the Pelagians and the semi-Pelagians, were disturbing her peace; in the East Nestorianism was still rife. There was an extraordinary paucity of men capable of leading, whether in church or state. A man was needed capable of disciplining and consolidating Western Christendom, that it might present a firm front to the heretical barbarians and remain in unshaken consistency through that stormy period which links the ancient with the modern world. The church, preserving her identity, must give the framework for the society which was to be. That she might fulfil her function, large sacrifices must be made to the surpassing necessity for unity, solidity, and strength. Leo was the man for the post: lofty and severe in life and aims, rigid and stern in insisting on the rules of ecclesiastical discipline; gifted with an indomitable energy, courage, and perseverance, and a capacity for keeping his eye on many widely distant spheres of activity at once; inspired with an unhesitating acceptance and an admirable grasp of the dogmatic faith of the church, which he was prepared to press everywhere at all costs; finally, possessed with, and unceasingly acting upon, an overmastering sense of the indefeasible authority of the church of Rome as the divinely ordained centre of all church work and life, he stands out as the Christian representative of the imperial dignity and severity of old Rome, and is the true founder of the medieval papacy in all its magnificence of conception and uncompromising strength. His is a simple character, if regarded with sympathy, not hard to understand and appreciate; representing strongly that side of the developing life of the church specially identified with Rome—authority and unity; and a special interest attaches to his history from the fact that he stands so much alone, as almost the one considerable man in Christendom. "The dignity of the imperial name may be said to have died with Theodosius the Great." Among churchmen Augustine was just dead, Cyril very soon to die. The best-known names are those of Theodoret, Prosper, Cassian, and Hilary of Arles. There was not even an imposing representative of heresy; "on the throne of Rome, alone of all the great sees, did religion maintain its majesty, its sanctity, its piety" (Milman, Lat. Christianity, vol. i. p. 228). In such an age and in such a position, a strong man like Leo could exercise an abiding influence.

In strengthening the framework of the church, Leo was playing an important part in the reconstruction of civil society. In 452 Attila, having spread desolation over the plains of Lombardy, was encamped upon the Mincius, ready to advance towards Rome. In this extremity Leo, accompanied by the consular Avienus and the prefect Trigetius, met the barbarian, and Attila, yielding to their persuasions, consented to withdraw beyond the Danube.

The terms were discreditable enough to the Roman empire; but that the confidence and courage of St. Leo in meeting the fearful Hun made a great impression on the Eastern as well as the Western world may be seen from the somewhat curious allusion to it by the Eastern bishops in the appeal to pope Symmachus c. 510 ( Patr. Lat. lxii. p. 63). "If your predecessor, the archbp. Leo, now among the saints, thought it not unworthy of him to go himself to meet the barbarian Attila, that he might free from captivity of the body not Christians only, but Jews and pagans, surely your holiness will be touched by the captivity of soul under which we are suffering." No doubt later ages have exaggerated the importance of Leo's action, as may be seen in Baronius's account and that of later Roman Catholic writers ( Ann. 452, § 56 seq.). Later tradition has also introduced the well-known legend which represents Attila as confessing himself overawed by a miraculous presence, the apparition of St. Peter, and, according to another account, of St. Paul also, threatening him with instant death if he refused to yield. (Baronius boldly maintains the legend, which can plead no respectable evidence. See Tillem. xv. 751, etc.) Again, in 455, when Genseric and the Vandals were at the gates of Rome, the defenceless city, "without a ruler and without a standing force," found its sole hope in the dauntless courage of Leo. Unarmed, at the head of his clergy, he went outside the walls to meet the invader and succeeded in restraining the cruelty and licence of devastation. What exactly the barbarian promised, and how much of his promise he kept, is not quite certain, but at least "the mediation of Leo was glorious to himself, and, in some degree, beneficial to his country" (Gibbon). To neither of these two encounters between Leo and the barbarians do we find allusion in his extant writings. Clearly, if Leo was the "saviour of his country," he was not inclined to boast of it. He had little to complain of in the submissiveness of the Western emperor in his relations with himself. Nothing can exceed the ecclesiastical authority which is recognized as belonging to the pope in the constitution of Valentinian, which accompanied Leo's letter into Gaul in 448 when Leo was in conflict with Hilary of Arles (Leo Mag. Ep. xi.). This constitution, which has the names of both emperors, Eastern and Western, at its head, speaks of the "merits" of St. Peter, the dignity of Rome and the authority of a council as conspiring to confirm the primacy of the Roman bishops. It declares that it is necessary for the peace of all that all the churches ("universitas") should recognize him as their ruler, and that his decree on the subject of the Gallic church would be authoritative even without imperial sanction; yet by way of giving this sanction, it asserts that "no bishops, whether of Gaul or of other provinces, are to be allowed, contrary to ancient customs, to attempt anything ("ne quid tentare") without the authority of the venerable man, the pope of the eternal city; but that the one law for them and for all is "quicquid sanxit vel sanxerit apostolicae sedis auctoritas"; and if any bishop summoned to Rome neglect to come, the provincial magistrate (moderator) is to compel him. Nothing could be stronger than this language; the document, however, must be considered entirely Western, the result of pressure put by Leo on the feeble mind of Valentinian. (See Tillem. xv. 441, who calls it "une loy . . . trop favorable à la puissance du siége [de S. Léon] mais peu honorable à sa piété.") That Valentinian and his family were much under Leo's influence is proved also by the letters which in the early part of 450 he induced him, his mother Placidia, and his wife Eudoxia, to write to Theodosius II., the Eastern emperor, in the interest of Leo's petition for a council in Italy, all which letters reiterate the views of Leo and assert the loftiest position for the see of Rome (Leo Mag. Epp. liv.-lviii.). Theodosius, however, was not so amenable to Leo's wishes. In the matter of the councils, the pope had to submit to the emperor. It was the emperor who summoned the council of Ephesus in 449 ( Epp. xxix. 840, xxx. 851); Leo speaking always respectfully of him (xxxi. 856, 840), but being inclined to complain at least of the short notice (857). The emperor decided the occasion, place, and time; and the pope apologizes for not attending in person ( ib. ). Again, after the disastrous termination of the Ephesine synod, Leo cannot obtain from the emperor his request for a gathering in Italy. The summoning of councils still depended on the "commandment and will of princes"; and Leo gives a constant practical recognition to the interference of the Eastern empire in ecclesiastical appointments and affairs generally (Ep. lxxxiv. c. 3, etc; cf. also cliii. 1, remembering that Aspar was an Arian, Tillem. Empereurs, vi. 366). In general Leo conceives of the right relation of the empire and the church as a very intimate one. "Human affairs cannot," he says, "be safe unless the royal and sacerdotal authority combine to defend the faith" ( Ep. Ix. 983). He tells the emperor Leo on his accession that his empire is given him "not only to rule the world, but to defend the church" ( Ep. clvi. 1323). When he praises an emperor he ascribes to him a "sacerdotal" mind ( e.g. Ep. clv. 1319). The civil power is constantly called upon, at any rate in the East, where Leo could not always depend on the ecclesiastical authorities, to do the work of the church ( Epp. cxii. 1189, cxv. 1203, cxxxvi.), and he justifies the execution of Priscillian in the previous century on the ground "that though the lenity of the church, contented with a sacerdotal sentence, is averse from taking a bloody revenge, yet at times it finds assistance in the severe commands of Christian princes, because the fear of punishment for the body sometimes drives men to seek healing for the soul" ( Ep. xv. 696).

As an ecclesiastical ruler we will consider Leo first in his relation to the various heresies in the West. Septimus, bp. of Altina, in the province of Aquileia, writes (Ep. i. Migne) to inform Leo that Pelagian ecclesiastics are being admitted to communion in that province without recantation, are being reinstated into their ecclesiastical degrees, and allowed, contrary to the canons, to wander from church to church. Leo writes to the metropolitan to complain, desiring him to summon a provincial synod and extract from suspected persons a condemnation of Pelagian errors (i. 591). Of his struggle with the Manicheans we know more. Recent troubles, especially the capture of Carthage by Genseric in 439, had driven many of these heretics to Rome. They were to be seen there moving about with pale faces, in mean apparel, fasting, and making distinctions of meats. They seem to have professed Catholicism and done their best to escape attention (Leo Mag. Serm. xvi. 4, xxxv.; Ep. xv. 16, p. 708). The vigilance of Leo, however, was too much for them. Of this sect he had a particular horror. Their heresy is a mixture, he says, of all others, while it alone has no element of good in it ( Serm. xvi. 4, xxiv. 5). Accordingly, in the beginning of 444 Leo made a diligent search for them. A large number, both of teachers and disciples, and among them their bishop, were tried in the presence of numerous authorities, ecclesiastical and civil, a "senatus amplissimus," as Valentinian calls it, at which confession was made of the most hideous immoralities in their secret assemblies ( Epp. vii. p. 624, xv. 16, p. 708; Serm. xvi. 4, and Constitutio Valent., Ep. viii.). Those who remained impenitent were banished in perpetuum by the civil power, and a constitution of Valentinian reviving the previous laws against the sect, dated June 19, 445, put them under all kinds of civil penalties. Leo, by sermons (ix. xvii. xxiv. xxxv. xlii.) and a circular letter to the bishops of Italy ( Ep. vii.), did all he could to publish their infamy, and his exertions appear to have stirred up other bishops, both in the East and West, to similar activity (Prosper and Idatius, Chron., Patr. Lat. li. 600, 882).Theodoret, writing in 449, counts this exhibition of zeal against the Manicheans one of St. Leo's greatest titles to fame (Leo Mag. Ep. Iii. c. 2). In 447 we find Leo sending an account of these proceedings to Turribius, bp. of Astorga ( Ep. xv. 16, 708. At this period the Priscillianists were exercising a very disastrous influence in Spain. St. Turribius, their active opponent, wrote to Leo for advice, and Leo replies in July 447 ( Ep. xv.). He views the heresy as a mixture of Manicheism with other forms of evil, heretical and pagan, and exhorts Turribius to gather a synod of all the Spanish provinces to examine into the orthodoxy of the bishops; with this view he sends letters to the bishops of the various provinces, but urges that at least a provincial synod of Gallicia should be held (c. 17). We find subsequent allusions to a Gallician council, to which Leo is said to have written (Labbe, Conc. v. 837 A; Idat. Chron. xxiii.), and to a council of various provinces at Toledo in 447, which is said to have acted "cum praecepto papae Leonis" (Labbe, ii. 1227 B; cf. Tillem. xv. 555 seq.; Ceillier, x. 668). Though we hear still of Novatianism and Donatism in Africa ( Ep. xii. 6), Leo did not take any special measures against these nor other heresies in the West.

Leo's introduction to Eastern disputes is a somewhat curious one. Eutyches early in 448 wrote to Leo apparently deploring the revival of Nestorianism. Leo replied on June 1, applauding his solicitude, and apparently heard no more of Eutyches till early in 449 he received two letters announcing his condemnation in the council of Constantinople—one from the emperor Theodosius, the other from himself. Eutyches (Ep. xxi.) appeals to the judgment of the Roman pontiff. Leo, however, maintains a cautious attitude; writes to Flavian ( Ep. xxiii.) complaining that he has sent him no information about the condemnation of Eutyches, that the appeal of the condemned to Rome was, according to his own account, not received and he himself hastily condemned, though he professed himself ready to amend anything in his faith which should be found at fault. At the same time Leo writes to the emperor, lamenting his ignorance of the true state of the case ( Ep. xxiv.). Meanwhile, it appears that Flavian had really written soon after the close of the council to inform Leo, and to Domnus of Antioch and other prelates. His letter, however ( Ep. xxii.) had not reached Leo by the end of Feb. 449. Had it arrived, it would have been calculated to give Leo a clearer view of the dogmatic question at issue. Flavian's second letter to Leo, in reply to his ( Ep. xxvi.), contains no allusions to Leo's complaints of his silence and want of consideration; he characterizes Eutyches's representations as crafty and false, explains clearly the drift of his teaching, and urges the pope to send his subscription to the condemnation, and to keep the emperor on the right side ( ib. p. 788); the matter, he adds, only needs his assistance to keep it all straight. Leo, now confirmed in his adhesion to Flavian, writes briefly in May 449, assuring him of his sympathy ( Ep. , xxvii.), followed in June by "the tome" (Ep. xxviii.), one of the most justly celebrated of pontifical decrees nominally a letter to an individual bishop, but really addressed to all the world, Western as well as Eastern. At the same time, Leo sent letters directed against Eutyches's doctrine, and calling attention to his tome, to Pulcheria, Faustus, Martin, and the other archimandrites of Constantinople, to the Ephesine council itself, and two to his close friend JULIAN of Cos ( Epp. xxxi.–xxxv.). Meanwhile Theodosius, at the instance of Eutyches, had directed the assembling of a council, which, professing to be aimed at Nestorianism only, excited much alarm in the minds of Eastern prelates and in that of Leo, who, though praising the emperor's zeal for religion, ventures to hint that there is no occasion for assembling a synod in a matter where there is no possibility of doubt—an opinion which he expresses more strongly to Flavian. Theodosius had sent a request that Leo would be present at the council. This, as he writes to Pulcheria, the circumstances of the city would not permit; and there would, as he tells Theodosius, be no precedent for such a course ( Epp. xxxi. 857; xxxvii. 887). He sent ("de latere suo") three legates to represent on his behalf the spirit at once of severity and mercy ( Epp. xxix. p. 841; xxxiv. c. 2; xxxiii. p. 866). They seem to have left Rome before June 23. Apparently at the beginning of Oct. news reached Rome that the council had been packed and managed by Dioscorus; that Leo's tome lead not been read; that Eutyches had been reinstated, St. Flavian and Eusebius condemned and deposed; finally, that of Leo's legates one only had barely escaped to tell the tale; and though Leo was ignorant of the crowning enormity of the murder of St. Flavian, his indignation boils over ( Epp. xliii. p. 904; xliv. p. 912; xlv. p. 921; cxx. 3, p. 1224; xlv. 2). The proceedings of the council are characterized as a "sceleratissimum facinus"; "it was no synod at all, but a "latrocinium," a den of robbers; its acts are null and void; it cuts to the root of the Christian faith ( Epp. xliv. i. p. 913; lxxxv. i. p. 1051; xcv. 2; xlv. 2, p. 923; xliv. 1, 913). Still, Leo is more indignant than dismayed ( Ep. xlviii.). The fearful and half-anticipated result of the synod only stirs his energies. There was then sitting at Rome a council apparently representing the whole West, and assembled to consider the present emergency ( Epp. lxi. 1; xlv. 2; xlvi. 2; lxix. p. 1008). In his own name and that of the council Leo addresses letters to various quarters. The church of Constantinople and the archimandrites ( Epp. 1. li.) are exhorted to be loyal to the faith and to Flavian, whose death was not yet known in Rome, and they are assured that no one who usurps his place can be in the communion of Rome or a true bishop (p. 934). Besides those letters ( Epp. xliii. xliv. xlv.), there are two to the emperor, urgently requesting that a more oecumenical council may be held in Italy. Till this has been done, Leo begs the emperor by all that is most sacred to allow everything to remain as it was before the first decision at Constantinople ( Ep. xliv. 2, p. 915). This request, made in the name of all the bishops and churches of the West ("nostrae partes," xliv. 3), is accompanied by the strongest condemnation of the Ephesine council and backed up by an appeal to the empress Pulcheria ( Ep. xlv.). The ground of the request is especially the appeal of Flavian to Rome an appeal for the justification of which Leo offers the authority of a Nicene canon ( Ep. xliv. 916; vid. inf. ).

On Dec. 25 Leo, still surrounded by his council, presses his request to the emperor again (Ep. liv.); and in Mar 450 writes again to stir up Pulcheria, the archimandrites ( Ep. xi.), and the clergy and people of Constantinople, to press, his petition for a "plenaria synodus," and "next to the divine assistance to aim at obtaining the favour of the Catholic princes" ( Epp. lix. 5, 981, lx. lxi.). Meanwhile, taking the opportunity of Valentinian's presence in Rome with his wife Licinia Eudoxia (Theodosius's daughter) and his mother, Galla Placidia, Leo gets them all to write letters urging the Eastern emperor to do what he wished ( Epp. lv. lvi. lvii.). Galla Placidia wrote at the same time to Pulcheria, expressing detestation of the Ephesine synod, and describing how Leo, when solemnly asking their intercession with Theodosius, could hardly speak for grief ( Ep. lviii.).

In his replies to Valentinian, Placidia, and Eudoxia (Epp. lxii. lxiii. lxiv.) Theodosius asserts his continued orthodoxy, but professes his complete satisfaction with the Ephesine synod. His reply to Leo is not preserved, but contained an absolute refusal to do what he wished. Leo had another cause of anxiety. Anatolius had written to him in the end of 449. telling him of his election to succeed Flavian ( Ep. liii.). Anatolius had been Dioscorus's representative at Constantinople, and what security had Leo for his orthodoxy? Moreover, he had simply announced his consecration, without asking for Leo's consent to it. Leo wrote in July 450 to Theodosius, whom he still addresses with the utmost respect, requiring that Anatolius should read the Catholic Fathers and the Ep. of Cyril, without overlooking his own Ep. to Flavian, and then make a public profession of adherence to their doctrine, to be transmitted to the apostolic see and all bishops and churches. This he demands somewhat peremptorily, sending legates to explain his views, and renewing his request for an Italian council ( Ep. lxix.). This letter he backs up with others to Pulcheria, Faustus, and the archimandrites ( Epp. lxx. lxxi. lxxii.). Leo appears even now to have been full of hope ( Ep. lxxiii. to Martin), though Dioscorus had the audacity to excommunicate him and the emperor was all against him. But before his legates could reach Constantinople, his chief cause of anxiety was removed. Theodosius died, July 450, and was succeeded by Pulcheria, always Leo's friend, who united to herself as emperor, Marcian, equally zealous for his cause. Dioscorus's hopes were gone. The letter of the new emperor ( Ep. lxxiii.), announcing his election, promised the council to beheld specially under Leo's influence ("te auctore"), and the letter which followed the arrival of Leo's messengers at Constantinople asked him either to come to the East to assist at it or, if that was impossible, to let the emperor summon the Eastern, Illyrian, and Thracian bishops to some place "ubi nobis placuerit " ( Ep. lxxvi.). We hear nothing of Leo's requirement that it should be in Italy, though he did not cease to wish that it should be there ( Ep. xcv. 1). Meanwhile Anatolius had willingly signed the tome, as had "all the church of Constantinople, with a number of bishops"—it appears that it was sent for signature to all the metropolitans ( Ep. lxxxviii. 3; Labbe, iv. 546 C)—the bishops banished for adherence to Flavian were recalled, and all honour shewn to Flavian's body ( Ep. Pulcheria, lxxvii.). At the same time a large number of the bishops who had been induced by fear to assent to the decrees of the Ephesine synod (by July 451 almost all) had testified their sorrow, and, though by the decision of the papal legates not yet admitted to the communion of Rome, were allowed the privileges of their own churches; Eutyches was banished, though not far enough to satisfy Leo, and everywhere "the light of the Catholic faith was shining forth" ( Epp. lxxx. 2; lxxxiv. 3; cxxxii. p. 1053). The legates, who returned at once, carried back a number of letters to their master, and in Apr. 451 we have a number of letters from him, expressing genuine satisfaction. He commends all that has been done, praises the "sacerdotal" zeal of Marcian, the diligent watchfulness of Pulcheria, and rejoices in Anatolius's adhesion to the truth ( Epp. lxxviii. lxxix. lxxx.; cf. lxxxv. 3). He praises the conduct of his legates and confirms their wish that the names of those bishops, Dioscorus Juvenal, and Eustathius, who had taken a chief part in the crimes of the council of Ephesus should not be recited at the altar (lxxx. 3; lxxxv. 2). As for the council, he wishes it postponed, but has to yield to the emperor, and writes to him in June 451 ( Ep. lxxxix.), nominating the legates to represent him. He makes it a point that his legates should preside, and that the question of the true faith should not be treated as an open one ( Ep. xc.; cf. xciii.). If Leo, presiding in the person of his legates, secures the position of his see, and if the prohibition of maintaining heretical positions ("nec id liceat defendi, quod non liceat credi") gives security to the faith, there will be no cause of anxiety about the council, but a caution is still needed that the condemnation of Eutyches must not be an excuse for any rehabilitation of Nestorianism ( Ep. xciii. end). When the synodal letter of the council of Chalcedon ( Ep. xcviii.) reached Leo, it was couched in terms highly complimentary to himself, and brought the best news as regards the question of faith. Eutyches had been finally condemned and Dioscorus deposed. Leo expresses his satisfaction ( Ep. to Marcian, civ.). The faith of the church was unmistakably asserted. In Mar 453 he tells Maximus of Antioch ( Ep. cxix.) that "the glory of the day is everywhere arisen." "The divine mystery of the Incarnation," he tells Theodoret,"has been restored to the age"; "it is the world's second festivity since the advent of the Lord" ( Ep. cxx.).

While on this score Leo had every cause for joy, there was one decree of the council against which his legates had protested and which stirred his utmost indignation—viz. the 28th decree on the dignity of the see of Constantinople, which seemed to imperil the unique position of the see of Rome.

Before treating of this, we will take a general review of the position and influence of Leo as bp. of Rome up to this point of his pontificate. The age into which Leo was born was one which demanded, above all else, a firm consistency and therefore centralization in the church. It was an age of little intellectual energy, and was to be succeeded by ages of still less. The world wanted above all things unity and strength, and this was found in taking Rome for a centre and a guide both in faith and in discipline. Accordingly the papal supremacy made a great stride during Leo's life. He has been well called "the first pope," "the Cyprian of the papacy," for we associate with Leo's name the first clear assertion that metropolitans and patriarchs are subject in some way, still undefined, to Rome. What is Leo's own view of his position? In his sermons preached on his "birthday," i.e. the day of his consecration—an occasion on which a provincial council used annually to be assembled at Rome—he expresses his sense of his own insignificance but of the magnitude of his position and of the presence of St. Peter in his see, "ordinatissima totius ecclesiae charitas in Petri sede Petrum suscipit" ( Serm. ii. 2; cf. iii. 3; v. 4). St. Peter is the rock; St. Peter alone has to "strengthen his brethren" (iii. 3; iv. 3). Not only has he the primacy (iii. 4) but is the channel through which is given whatever graces the other, apostles have, and so, though there are many bishops and pastors, yet Peter governs them all by his peculiar office ("proprie"), whom Christ governs by His supreme authority ("principaliter"); thus "great and wonderful is the share in its own power which the divine condescension assigned to this man" (Iv. 2). Just as the faith of Peter in Christ abides, so also does the commission of Christ to Peter, and "Peter's care rules still all parts of the church" (iii. 2; v. 4). Thus the see of Rome is the centre of sacerdotal grace and of church authority; it represents Peter, "from whom, as from a head, the Lord wills that His gifts should flow out into the whole body, so that he should know he has no share in the divine mystery who has dared to retire from the solid foundation of Peter" ( Ep. x. 1, in re Hilary of Arles). The see of Rome again, occupies in the ecclesiastical world more than the position which the empire of Rome occupies in the secular "gens sancta, civitas sacerdotalis et regia, caput orbis effecta latius praesidet religione divina quam dominatione terrena"—because the Roman empire uniting the world was just the divine preparation for the spread of the universal Gospel ( Serm. lxxxii.1 and 2). This, then, is his theory: let us see how he put it in practice. We see him standing as in a watch-tower, with his eye on every part of the Christian world, zealous everywhere for the interests of the faith and of discipline, and, wherever he sees occasion, taking the opportunity of insinuating the authority of his see, not only in the West, but in the East. The "authority of the apostolic see" to regulate discipline and depose bishops is asserted very absolutely to the bishops of Aquileia and of the home provinces in the beginning of his pontificate; as for the heretics, "obediendo nobis, probent se esse nostros" ( Epp. i. v. iv.). With something more of apology (though with the precedent of his predecessors), he asserts his authority—" in order to prevent usurpations " in Illyria (Ep. v. i). As his predecessors had done, he appointed a vicegerent, Anastasius of Thessalonica, to whom he wishes the Illyrian bishops to submit as to himself. He is to be to the metropolitans as they are to the ordinary bishops, and a regular system of provincial administration is ordained, by which the assent of the papal vicarius is required for all episcopal elections and by which metropolitans are to be ordained actually by him ( Ep. vi. 4; but cf. xiv. 6, where the latter point is modified). Biennial provincial councils, summoned by the metropolitans, referring graver matters to a representative synod, summoned by the vicar, whence again difficult questions are to be referred to Rome, are to maintain provincial discipline ( Epp. xiv. 7; xiii. 2). Moreover, any individual bishop can appeal from the metropolitan directly to Rome, as Atticus, the metropolitan of Epirus Vetus, actually did some years later, securing the pope's interference against the cruel treatment of Anastasius ( Ep. xiv. 1, p. 685). This supremacy of the papal vicar, which is of great historical importance, seems to have been accepted without remonstrance by the Illyrian churches ( Ep. xiii. 1). Meanwhile, in 445, a letter from Dioscorus of Alexandria, probably announcing his succession to St. Cyril, gave Leo an opportunity of dictating to the church of Alexandria ( Ep. ix.). That church owned St. Mark for her founder; should not the church of St. Mark be in complete accord with the church of St. Mark's master? On the strength of this relation between the churches, Leo gives Dioscorus detailed directions about days of ordination and the celebration of mass. About the same time the restless energy of Leo was engaged in his famous controversy with St. Hilary of Arles. This controversy (for which see HILARY), which is of special importance as being the first case in which "the supremacy of the Roman see over Gaul was brought to the issue of direct assertion on the pope's part, of inflexible resistance on the part of his opponent," arose out of an appeal of a bishop, Celidonius, to Rome against the judgment of Hilary. Though some blame attaches to Hilary, Leo's conduct was imperious, precipitate, unjust, and not over-scrupulous. The temptation to press a disputed claim of the Roman see and extend the Roman prerogative was too strong; Leo's violent language about the saintly Hilary ( Ep. x.), his high-handed treatment of Gallic rights, and his attempt to give a sort of primacy in Gaul to Leontius on the mere score of age cannot be defended. He seems conscious that he is treading on doubtful ground in the beginning of his letter to the Gallic bishops, for he is careful to assert that there is nothing new in his proceedings, and that he is only defending the Gallic bishops from the aggressions of Hilary. He professes to consult them (c. 4); he fortifies himself with an imperial edict, for which he must be held mainly responsible ( vid. sup. ); though he apparently excluded Hilary from his communion, he did not venture to depose him from his episcopal functions, and on his death speaks of him as "sanctae memoriae" (Ep. xl.; cf. Tillem. xv. 80, 89). The peremptory orders of Leo seem to have obtained but inadequate execution in Gaul (Tillem. xv. 86) as shown in the election of Ravennius, Hilary's successor. Leo had desired ( Ep. lxvi. 2) that the privileges he took from Hilary should be given to the bp. of Vienne; but the latter seems to have taken no part in the consecration of Ravennius, yet Leo speaks of his consecration as constitutionally conducted and divinely inspired ( Epp. xl. xli.) and appears in the directions he gives Ravennius to recognize him as a metropolitan ( Ep. xlii.; Tillem. xv. 93). Of the way Ravennius was consecrated, the bp. of Vienne seems to have made no complaint. He did, however, complain of the ordination by Ravennius of a bp. of Vaison ( Ep. lxvi. 1). This complaint was followed on the other side by a petition from 19 bishops of the three provinces formerly subject to Arles, asking for the restoration to that see of its former dignity. Leo had now an opportunity to mediate. However imperfectly subservient to Leo's wishes the Gallic church had hitherto been, the tone of this letter is sufficiently abject. The pope's authoritative attitude and the imperial edict had done their work. They simply put themselves in Leo's hands. They ground the claim of Arles on ancient custom, civil dignity, and specially on the fact that in Trophimus that town had had the first Gallic bishop, and Trophimus had been sent by St. Peter; they even claim for Arles a certain authority over all Gaul as the vicegerent of the Roman see. Having received this appeal, so satisfactory in its tone, and the counter-complaint from Vienne, Leo proceeded to divide the authority. He examined carefully, he says, the rival claims of Vienne and Arles, and ultimately assigned a limited authority over four churches to the bp. of Vienne, and the rest of the province of Vienne to Arles; of the claims of Arles to larger metropolitan rights, he says nothing ( Ep. lxvi.). This decision seems to have been acquiesced in by Ravennius, but did not finally stop the disputes of the rival sees (Tillem. xv. 95, 96). Leo sent also his tome to Ravennius for distribution in Gaul and secret communications, "quae committenda litteris non fuerunt," by the mouth of the messengers.

Probably c. 446 we find Leo correcting some scandals and asserting his authority in the church of Africa, too weak and disorganized now, from the devastations of Genseric and the recently concluded war, to resist interference as in the days of Celestine. He had sent a representative to make inquiries into alleged violations of discipline there in the election of bishops; on receiving his report, Leo wrote ( Ep. xii. to the bishops of Mauretania Caesariensis) assuming complete authority over the administration of their church. He even received an appeal from an African bishop, LUPICINUS, and reversed the decision of the African church in receiving him to communion.

In 447 we have seen Leo entering into the affairs of the church of Spain, distracted like the African with barbarian invasions, and dictating the course to be pursued against the Priscillianist heretics; and the same year he sharply reprimanded the Sicilian bishops for the alienation off church property, of which complaints had been laid before him in a Roman synod by the clergy of the despoiled churches (Ep. xvii.). The Eutychian controversy went far to aggrandize the position of Rome as the seat of dogmatic truth and the refuge of oppressed orthodoxy. Rome's pretensions to a superior jurisdiction are older than her claims to be the source of dogmatic truth. The claim of infallibility was yet unheard, but it went far to lay the ground of this claim that in the last great controversy about the Incarnation Rome's utterance became the standard of orthodoxy. The glory of being the safest dogmatic guide coalesced with increasing authority as the centre of discipline and government. True, the letter of Leo to Flavian went out for signature east and west on the authority of a council; there is no approach to a claim to dogmatic authority as bp. of Rome on Leo's part; still, the letter was Leo's letter and the stream of things was running in the direction of his exaltation. Moreover, the position of Rome at this period made Leo the recipient of appeal after appeal. Eutyches, Flavian, Eusebius, Theodoret, the presbyters Basil and John ( Ep. lxxxvii.), made, or were supposed to have made, appeals, and gave Leo opportunities of asserting an old claim. The Council of Sardica had framed a canon, allowing appeals from discontented bishops to pope Julius. This canon, with the others of this council, was in the Roman church included with the canons of Nicaea, and as such had been quoted by the popes; but that it was not Nicene, the African church had shewn quite clearly in the time of Zosimus. Though Leo could not be ignorant of this fact, he still alleges the authority of Nicaea for the right of appeal ( Ep. liv. p. 917, in the case of Flavian). No "custom of the Roman church" can justify this. (For the Roman canons, see collection in Migne's Patr. Lat. lv. init.; Gieseler, Eccl. Hist. § 92.)

Leo appears to make no exact or definite claim over the Eastern bishops through the Eutychian controversy. He professes his "universalis cura" for the welfare of the whole church (Ep. lxxv.) and claims to be kept fully alive to what goes on in the East (cf. Ep. to Flavian, xxiii.), while the power of excluding from his own communion gave him some hold on episcopal elections, which he requires to be notified to him with satisfactory proofs of the orthodoxy of new bishops (cf. his language at his confirmation of Anatolius's election); "nostra communio" all through his writings is an expression of much meaning and weight. Moreover, we have seen that he claimed a right of receiving appeals from all parts of the Christian world, and we shall see him trying to annul the authority of a canon of Chalcedon which displeased him. But when he writes his celebrated letter to Flavian, on the subject of the true faith of the Incarnation, he writes in a tone no wise different from that adopted by St. Cyril in his letters against Nestorius. The bp. of Ravenna (Peter Chrysologus), at the beginning of the Eutychian controversy, wrote to Eutyches recommending him to listen to Rome, because "the blessed Peter who lives and presides in his own see gives the truth of the faith to those who seek it" ( Ep. xxv. ad fin. ), but there is nothing of this tone in Leo's own words. He classes his letter with that of Cyril (Epp. lxvii.; lxix. 1006): "non aspernetur Anatolius," he says, "etiam meam epistolam recensere, quam pietati patrum per omnia concordare reperiet" (lxx. 1010). After the council of Chalcedon, he commends his own letter as confirmed by the council and witnessed to by patristic testimony ( e.g. Ep. cxx. to Theodoret, c. 4; cf. esp. Ep. cx. 3, 117, where he fortifies himself by the authority of St. Athanasius, and Ep. cxxiii. 2, where he speaks of his tome simply as "synodalia decreta"; Ep. cxxxix. 4; Leo attached the "testimonia patrum" to his tome after the Robber council, Ep. lxxxviii. 3).

Of the Eastern bishops, THEODORET, in making his appeal (Ep. Iii.), addresses Leo in language very reverential to his see: "If Paul betook himself to Peter that he might carry back from him an explanation to those who were raising questions at Antioch about their conversation in the law, much more do I," etc.; but while he admits it expedient that the pope should have the first place ("primas") in all things, he grounds this position on (1) the greatness of Rome; (2) the continuous piety of the church; (3) the possession of the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul: not the sort of prerogatives on which Leo would ground his primacy. Flavian addresses Leo in a way entirely consistent with the dignity of his own see. He informs him of the condemnation of Eutyches ( Ep. xxii.), but only that Leo may put the bishops subordinate to him on their guard; and when Flavian asks for Leo's subscription ( Ep. xxvi.), he asks it for an already canonically made deposition. At the council of Chalcedon, Leo was treated with all possible respect. He had required ( Ep. lxxxix. to Marcian) that his legates should preside, "on account of the inconstancy of so many of his brethren." Certainly the doubtful orthodoxy of so many of the chief Eastern bishops, and the connexion of Anatolius with Dioscorus, would have made it difficult to find any one so fit as the Roman legates to preside. Moreover, all the influence of Marcian and Pulcheria was on the side of Leo, "giving him entire authority" (Theodor. Lector. lib. i.), except as regards the place of the council; hence there were reasons enough for giving him the presidency, even if Leo had not been Leo and Rome Rome. As it was, there was no direct opposition and the influence of his legates was strong enough to enforce in great measure his wishes as to Dioscorus. When the synod proceeded to read Leo's tome, some Illyrian and other bishops raised doubts on certain expressions in it. Explanations were given and conferences held, where those points were shewn by the legates and others to be in agreement with the doctrines of councils and the Ep. of Cyril (Labbe, iv. 367 C, D; 491 D). Finally, his letter was unanimously received, because it was in agreement with the decrees of Nicaea, Constantinople, and Ephesus, and the Epp. of St. Cyril (pp. 471 seq.). "Peter," the bishops cried, "spoke thus by Leo! Leo teaches truly! Cyril taught so! Eternal the memory of Cyril! Leo and Cyril teach alike! This is the faith of the Fathers!" (367, 368).

Thus Leo's letter was treated by the council like the letter of any other highly respected churchman; and in the eighth session of the council Leo's decision on the orthodoxy of Theodoret was not accepted till that bishop had satisfied the synod that he really was orthodox (621 C, D). On one or two points especial reverence for Leo was shewn in the council. According to the Acts of the council, the form in which the papal legates expressed the condemnation of Dioscorus was, "The archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us and through the holy synod now present , together with the . . . apostle Peter, who is the rock . . . has stripped Dioscorus of all sacerdotal dignity" (426 C). This "sentence" indeed exists in a widely different form, as sent by Leo himself to the Gallic bishops (Ep. ciii.), in which Leo is described as "head of the universal church," and condemns "by us his vicars with the consent of the synod." The Acta are probably the best authority, as we do not know exactly whence Leo's version came. In any case, the papal legates were regarded as passing sentence on Dioscorus with the consent of the council (cf. Patr. Lat. li. p. 989, note b; Evagr. H. E. ii. 4). The title "oecumenical archbishop" is used of Leo in the plea of Sophronius against Dioscorus (Labbe, iv. 411 D), and "bishop of all the churches," or "of the oecumenical church," by the papal legates. It is, perhaps, in mistaken allusion to these expressions of individuals that pope Gregory I. states that the bishops of Rome were called "universales episcopi "by the council of Chalcedon (Greg. Mag. Epp. lib. v. ep. xviii. 743, Migne) and that the title thus offered had been consistently rejected (pp. 749, 771, 919). The synodical letter ( Ep. xcviii.) which the assembled bishops wrote to Leo was highly complimentary. They speak of him as the "interpreter to all of the blessed Peter." He has presided by his legates as "the head over the members" (c. 1). It is he who took away his dignity from Eutyches (c. 2). They express indignation at the monstrous attempt which Dioscorus made to excommunicate Leo, "he to whom the Saviour intrusted the care of the vine" (c. 3); but all this language, so acceptable to Leo, serves to usher in a very unpleasant matter. The first council of Constantinople had decreed that the bishop of that place should have the primacy of honour after the bp. of Rome, because "it is itself new Rome" (Labbe, ii. 947 C). Leo's statement, that this canon had never taken effect, is entirely untrue. On the contrary, the precedence of honour had become an extensive jurisdiction (Tillem. xv. pp. 701 seq.); and this jurisdiction had now been sanctioned by the 28th canon of the council of Chalcedon, which professed to confirm the canon of Constantinople. "The Fathers," they say, "gave with reason the primacy to the chair of old Rome, because that was the royal city, and, with the same object in view, the 180 pious bishops gave equal primacy ( τὰ ἴσα πρεσβεῖα ) to the chair of new Rome" (which phase, however, is afterwards explained by the words "being next after old Rome"); this addition to the rank of new Rome is grounded on her imperial position; it is then further allowed that the see of Constantinople should have the right of ordaining the metropolitans of Pontus, Asia, and Thrace, and certain other bishops (Labbe, iv. 795 D seq.). From the discussion on this subject the papal legates had retired, saying they had no directions from Rome in the matter; but when the Eastern bishops had confirmed the canon, they demanded and obtained another session, when they protested in vain against it (Labbe, iv. sess. 12). Doubtless the bishops had been partly inspired by jealousy of Rome. Leo's oft-repeated sneer, that they had been compelled to sign, they stoutly denied in session ( ib. 809, 813 B seq.). This canon the council announce to Leo: their object, they say, was to secure order and good discipline, and it was made at the wish of the emperor, the senate, and the citizens ( Ep. xcviii. 1097): they therefore express a good hope that Leo will not resist it as his legates did. At the same time, Leo received letters from Marcian, Anatolius ( Epp. c. ci.), and Julian, expressing joy at the successful suppression of heresy, and endeavouring to conciliate him in regard to the 28th canon. Anatolius writes in as conciliatory a tone as possible, urging that the jurisdiction actually reserved for Constantinople is less than custom had sanctioned, repeating that it was at the wish of emperor, senate, and consuls that the canon was passed, and complaining gently of the conduct of the legates after so much deference had been shewn them. It would seem from the words of the "Commonitorium" which he intrusted to his legates (Labbe, iv. 829 E) that Leo had had some inkling of what the council might do in this respect. Indeed Eusebius of Dorylaeum stated in session that he had actually read this canon to Leo, when at Rome, in presence of some clerics from Constantinople, and that he had accepted it (815 B). Leo is, however, now extremely indignant. A very angry tone runs through the letters to Marcian, Pulcheria, Anatolius, and Julian ( Epp. civ.–cvii.). He urges that when Anatolius's antecedents were so doubtful, an attitude of humility would have best beseemed him ( Epp. civ. c. 2; cv. 3; cvi. 5), that secular importance cannot confer ecclesiastical privilege, "alia enim est ratio rerum saecularium, alia divinarum" (civ. 3), and that the canon is in flat contradiction to the unalterable decrees of Nicaea, alluding probably to the sixth canon, on the rights of certain metropolitans. He treats very scornfully the assent of the Chalcedonian bishops; it is an "extorta subscriptio"; what can it avail against the protest of the legates? ( Ep. cv. 1055). He thinks just as little of the decree of Constantinople ( Ep. civ. 2). He charges Anatolius with having diverted the council from its own proper object to subserve his ambitious purposes ( Ep. cvi. 2), and finally takes up the cudgels for Antioch and Alexandria, though the bishops of those sees, Theodoret and Maximus, had signed the decree—which indeed does not appear to interfere with the prerogatives which the canon of Nicaea assigned them (cf. Tillem. xv. p. 709), while not only had custom long allowed to Constantinople a position of superior dignity, but that position had been secured to her by a council, of the authority of which Leo had no right to speak so scornfully. The exhortations to avoid ecclesiastical ambition which Leo frequently uses and his contention for the canons of Nicaea did not come with a good grace from a bp. of Rome. If anything can justify Leo's claims, surely it is not the council of Nicaea. In Feb. 453 the emperor wrote to Leo, begging him to send as soon as possible his confirmation of the Acts of Chalcedon, that none might be able to shelter themselves under the excuse that he had not confirmed them ( Ep. cx.). Leo replied, Mark 11, to the council and to the emperor ( Epp. cxiv. cxv.), saying that, if Anatolius had shewn his letters, which he had motives for concealing, no doubt could have existed as to his approval of the decrees of the council, "that is, as regards faith ("in sola videlicet causa fidei, quod saepe dicendum est"), for the determination of which alone the council was assembled by the command of the Christian prince and the assent of the apostolic see" (cxiv. 1). To the emperor he sent his assent to the decrees concerning faith and the condemnation of the heretics as a matter of obedience to him, and begged him to make his assent universally known (cxv. 1204, cf. also Epp. cxxvi. cxxvii.).

Despite the reverential speeches of council, emperor, and bishops to Leo, neither this canon nor the attitude of the council towards Leo's tome, nor indeed Leo's own way of talking about it, give modern Romanists any great cause for satisfaction with the council of Chalcedon.

Meanwhile, in maintaining the cause of the faith, Leo was asserting his prerogative in many quarters. In 451 Leo's tome was approved in a council under Eusebius of Milan, which sent him a highly complimentary letter (Ep. xcvii.), in which, however, the tome is commended as agreeing with St. Ambrose, just as it was by the council of Chalcedon as agreeing with St. Cyril.

About 452 the East was troubled by the tumultuous proceedings of the Eutychian monks in Palestine, headed by one Theodosius, who elected a bishop in place of Juvenal, seized Jerusalem, and committed all sorts of violences (Tillem. xv. § 138, etc.). These disturbances caused Leo great anxiety (Ep. cix.), and drew from him ( Ep. cxxiv.) a clear and admirable exposition of the faith, as lying between Nestorian and Eutychian error. On the death of Marcian in 457 Eutychian risings were attempted in Constantinople and Alexandria ( Epp. cxl. cxliv.). Leo ( Ep. cxlv.), writing to congratulate the emperor Leo on his accession, urged him to active measures against the heretics, and by constant letters did all he could to keep Anatolius and Julian also zealous for the Chalcedonian decrees and the suppression of heresy. He urged that the question of the faith should not again be allowed to come into discussion. He complained to Basil, the new bp. of Antioch, that he had not, "according to ecclesiastical custom," notified his consecration to him, and addressed other letters against Timotheus Aelurus to the bishops of Thessalonica, Jerusalem, Corinth, and Dyrrhachium, which he sends for distribution to Julian ( Epp. cxlix. cl. clii.). He sent the expressions of agreement to his tome from the bishops of Gaul and Spain in a letter to Aetius, and wrote (Oct. 11, 457) condoling with the refugee Egyptian Catholics now in Constantinople ( Epp. cliv. clv. clx.). "They are not," he says, "exiles from God." Meanwhile, a circular letter from the emperor, asking all the metropolitans to summon provincial councils and collect the opinions of their bishops on the conduct of Timotheus Aelurus and the authority of the Chalcedonian decrees, gave Leo an opportunity of again impressing his views on the emperor, and urging him to make up by his zeal for any laxity in Anatolius ( Ep. clvi. c. 6). He had both to resist all inclination on the emperor's part to listen to the suggestions which accused his doctrine of Nestorianism, and to oppose strongly the idea of assembling another council, which the emperor had entertained. When the emperor dropped the idea of a council, he proposed, wherever the suggestion may have come from, a conference between some of the Eutychian heretics and an envoy of the pope ( Ep. clxii.). This again Leo could not consent to, for it involved the discussion of the faith which had been once for all determined, as if it were an open question ("patefacta quaerere, perfecta retractare, definita convellere"). He sent legates, not, however, to dispute, but to teach "what is the rule of the apostolic faith"; and some time in the same year addressed to Leo a long dogmatic epistle ( Ep. clxv.) sometimes, called the "second tome," closely parallel to the epistle he had before sent for the instruction of the Eutychian monks of Palestine. To it is attached a collection of testimonies, more ample than he had previously sent to Theodosius. In 460 Leo saw his wishes realized in the expulsion of Timotheus Aelurus, who, however, was allowed to come to Constantinople. Leo writes in June to congratulate the emperor on his energy against Aelurus, and to impress on him the need of a pious and orthodox bishop for Alexandria ("in summo pontifice," Ep. ccxix. c. 2). At the same time he writes to Gennadius, the new bp. of Constantinople, who had succeeded Anatolius in 468, urging him to be on his watch against Aelurus, whose arrival at Constantinople he deplored and who appeared likely to have a considerable following there. The bishop elected for Alexandria, Timotheus Solofaciolus, met with Leo's warm approval.

The letters which Leo wrote at this time (Aug. 461) to Timotheus, his church, and some monks of Egypt (Epp. clxxi. clxxiii.) are the last public documents of his life. Before his death Leo saw the peace of the church of Alexandria established and orthodoxy supreme, for a period at least of 16 years, in the elevation to its throne of Timothy Solofaciolus.

Though Leo was heedless of the rights of national churches, harsh and violent in his treatment of Hilary, and not always very scrupulous in his assertions about the canons of Nicaea, personal ambition was with him wholly merged in the sense of the surpassing dignity of his see, and his zeal was alway high-minded and inspired by an overmastering passion for unity in faith and discipline, and it might have fared ill with that faith and discipline in those days of weakness and trouble if a man of his persistence, integrity, piety, and strength had not been raised up to defend and secure both the one and the other. The notes of the discipline which he enforced were authority, uniformity, and antiquity, the authorities to which he appealed Scripture, tradition, and the decrees of councils or the holy see. His zeal for uniformity shewed itself in the beginning of his reign by his care that the whole of Christendom should celebrate Easter on the same day. In 444 according to the Roman calculation, it fell on Mar 26, according to the Alexandrian on Apr. 23. In this difficulty Leo wrote to St. Cyril, who replied, of course, in favour of the Alexandrian computation, and Leo had to surrender his point: "non quia ratio manifesta docuerit, sed quia unitatis cura persuaserit," and the Roman cycle gave way to the Alexandrian (Epp. lxxxviii. xcvi. cxxi. cxxii. cxxxiii. [from Proterius of Alexandria], cxxxvii. cxxxviii.). Where it did not clash with his own he could support the authority of other bishops. He maintained the rights of metropolitans and reproved a bishop for appealing to himself in a difficulty instead of consulting his metropolitan ( Ep. cviii. 2). The bishop was to rule with a strong hand. He must know the law and must not shrink from enforcing it, for it is "negligent rulers who nourish the plague, while they shrink from applying to it an austere remedy," and the "care of those committed to us requires that we should follow up with the zeal of faith those who, themselves destroyed, would destroy others" ( Epp. i. 5; iv. 2; vii.). Among his disciplinary directions were regulations forbidding the ordination of slaves ( Ep. iv.), which, though justified on the ground that they are not free for the Lord's service, are couched in language breathing more of the Roman patrician than of the Christian bishop (cf. "quibus nulla natalium dignitas suffragatur," "tanquam servilis vilitas hunc honorem capiat," "sacrum ministerium talis consortii vilitate polluitur"). Moreover a second marriage, or the marriage of a widow or divorced woman, was a bar to orders ( Epp. iv. 2, 3; xii. 5), and those in orders, even subdeacons, must abstain from "carnale connubium, ut et qui habent, sint tanquam non habentes, et qui non habent, permaneant singulares" ( Epp. xiv. 4 and clxvii. 3). The day of ordination and consecration was to be Sunday only ( Ep. vi.) or Saturday night ( Ep. ix.). The proper antecedents of the consecration of a bishop he declared to be "vota civium, testimonia populorum, honoratorum arbitrium, electio clericorum ( Ep. x. 4, 6; ccxvii. 1). In case of a division of votes the metropolitan must decide and be guided by the preponderance of supporters and of qualifications ( Ep. xiv. 5). When ordained no cleric was to be allowed to wander; he must remain in his own church ( Ep. i.; cf. xiii. 4; xiv. 7). All must rise in due order from the lower to the higher grades ( Ep. xii. 4; cf. Ep. xix.). Unambiguous condemnation of heresy is to be required before ordination from those who are suspected; and those who are reconverted must give up hope of promotion ( Epp. xviii.; cxxxv. 2). The multiplication of bishops in small places where they are not needed is forbidden (c. 10). As he insists on the relative dignity of different parts of the body of Christ ( Ep. cxix. 6), so he reasons that each part should fulfil only its own functions. Laymen and monks— i.e. those extra ordinem sacerdotalem —are not to be allowed to preach (Epp. cxix.; cxx. 6). He would enforce local discipline by insisting on provincial councils. Baptism was only to be given at Easter or Pentecost, except in cases of necessity ( Epp. xvi. and clxviii.). For the Mass, the rule of the Roman church, which he would enforce on Alexandria also, is that where the church will not hold all the faithful, it should be celebrated on the same day as often as is necessary for them all to "offer" ( Ep. ix. 2). As to ecclesiastical penance, believing that "indulgence of God cannot be obtained except by sacerdotal supplication," he gives rules for receiving penitents, etc. ( Epp. cviii. 2; clxvii. 2, 7–14), and directs that in ordinary cases ("de penitentia quae a fidelibus postulatur ") private confession, first to God and then to the priest, should be substituted for public confession, the scandals in which might deter from penitence altogether ( Ep. clxviii.). The laity under penitential discipline are exhorted to abstain from commerce and the civil law courts ( Ep. clxvii. 10, 11), and, even those who have at any time been penitents are advised to abstain from marriage and ordered to abstain from military service (cc. 12–13). Neo of Ravenna asked whether returned captives who had no memory of baptism should be baptized. On this, as a "novum et inauditum" point, Leo consulted the synod, "that the consideration of many persons might lead more surely to the truth" ( Ep. clxvi. p. 1406). He greatly dreads appearing to sanction a repetition of baptism, but decides that where no remembrance is possible and no evidence can be obtained, baptism may be given. Leo had a strong opinion on usury. "Fenus pecuniae," he says, "est funus animae." "Caret omni humanitate" ( Serm. xvii.), and it is forbidden to the laity as to the clergy ( Ep. iv. 2, 4). "Penitence," he says, "is to be measured not by length of time, but by sorrow of heart" ( Ep. clix. 4); "not instituting what is new, but restoring what is old," is his canon of reformation ( Ep. x. 2). Among his rules for episcopal government we may notice the following as characteristic: "Integritas praesidentium salus est subditorum, et ubi e

Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Leo I, the Great'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hwd/​l/leo-i-the-great.html. 1911.
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