St Leo the Great…

Today’s feast is a celebration of one of the great popes, with which Christ has blessed his Church, Leo called the great. He was of aristocratic origin and has befitted his rank at the time; he was an ambassador for many parts of the empire. He was elected a deacon of the Church and on the death of the Pope in 440 he was elected unanimously by the clergy of Rome to be the pontiff. Immediately he set himself the task of securing the Church. We are talking at a very difficult time in Church history, all times are difficult, some more than others. At that time there were many threats to the autonomy of the Church. The empire had been split, the emperor lived in Constantinople, the bishop of Constantinople claimed to be the head of the Church simply because he was the bishop of the most important city. St. Leo withstood him, maintaining in fact that the head of the Church was none other than the one Christ had selected and his successors, namely the bishop of Rome.

He spent a great deal of his pontificate writing to the various bishops and emperors correcting many errors which were creeping into the Church. There were in particular the questions of the heresies, in particular the divinity of Christ, is He God, is He Man, is He a mixture of both. Does He have a divine will? Does He have a human will? Does He have no will at all? What of His soul and all of these. St. Louis was of remarkable clarity able to clarify a lot of these issues. In particular the Council of Calceedon which made it abundantly clear that in Christ there were two wills a human will and a divine will. And on the political, he was able to resolve many of the problems which the Church was facing, in the particular the attacks of the barbarians and of course there’s the famous story of Atilla, who was marching on Rome with a huge army… For Fr. Linus’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.

By Fr Linus Clovis

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