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The Biography of Pope Leo

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Pope Leo was born in a Roman noble family in 400AD. God raised him at the throne of St. Peter when the church was facing the problems of the Heresies and attack of the Barbarians. He was a spiritual pope, in order to have spiritual life, he chose the path to become an archdeacon under-Pope Sixths. He was elected as a pope in 440AD. He contributed a lot of things for the church. During his time, he determinedly fought the unity of the church and its faith. He is the first who was given the title of ‘Great’ as a Pope by the church. He died on the 10th of November 461AD.

Pope Leo was known as the heresies killer, during his time there were so many heresies. There was a difficult time when the church was facing the problem of Monophysitism. This heresy was growing stronger and stronger. This heresy proclaimed that the person of Jesus Christ has only one nature rather than two natures, ‘Divine and Human’. The heresy which Pope Leo is perhaps most remembered in the church for suppressing was the heresy of Monophysitism. Pope Leo actively promoted the convening of the Fourth Ecumenical Council, at Chalcedon in 451AD, to condemn the heresy of the Monophysites. Almost 630 Bishops were present for the council. Pope Leo came up with the teaching that Jesus has two natures, Divine and Human, this teaching was known as the ‘Tome of Leo’. When St. Flavian was facing the problem of ‘Robber Council’ he wrote the letter. In that letter, Pope Leo mentioned the teaching of Jesus’ two natures. The same letter was read during the council. After reading the letter most of the bishops exclaimed, “Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo”. However, the non- Greek bishops were not agreed with this teaching so they broke out from the Church. Pope Leo condemned the actions of ‘Robber Council’ and he excommunicated Dioscorus after the council of Chalcedon.

Pope Leo played an important role to save Rome from the Barbarians. In 452 AD, the armies of Attila marched Rome. As soon as Pope Leo came to know about the Attila armies, he immediately rushed to meet Attila in northern Italy. After meeting Pope, Attila was shocked by seeing Pope’s mighty costume, further Attila added that I did not fear of as a person who came to meet but by his side, there was another man who clothed with spiritual vestments and in his hand, I saw a sword. This was like a miracle; people were shocked by listening to this incident. Bishop Julian of Kios in his letter he speaks of the deliverance from the “scourge” as a special gift of the divine mercy. When second time the vandals attacked Rome, Pope Leo was unable to save the city but by his intercession, he saved the lives of the people and the city buildings.

Pope Leo’s most famous writing was the ‘Tome of Leo’ which utmost ambitious theological writing which earned the title of the ‘great’. His literary and theological legacy is comprised of 96 sermons and 143 letters. Pope Leo is credited with writing the dogmatic definition of Christ’s dual yet distinct natures that was issued from the Council of Chalcedon. Pope Leo is honoured as a doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754.  

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