Died: Nov. 10th, 461
FEast: Nov. 10th
Patron of: peacemaking, disagreements, finding solutions
St. Leo (the Great)
With a largely unknown background, it is likely that Leo had Tuscan ancestry and served as a Deacon in the Roman Church. While in this position, he was widely well-known for his intelligence and peace-making efforts between disputing groups. In the year 440, Leo was unanimously selected to be the new Pope after the death of Pope Sixtus III.
During the years of his reign as Pope, Leo focused on the idea that the people of the Church were completely his responsibility. The first thing he focused on was to resolve disputes between followers of the ideas that became known as heresies, such as Pelagianism, Manichaeism, and and Priscillianism, to promote unity among Church members. A second focus of his was to resolve controversies between what would later become the Eastern and Western branches of the Church. Along with this, he continued to make peace and settle secular disputes as well, with an example being his arrangements with Attila the Hun to save Rome. When he could not plead with the Vandals, lead by Genseric, to do the same, he was able to stop them at least from burning it to the ground and murdering its inhabitants. He also sought to reaffirm the central authority of the position of Pope within the Church, as it had simply been titled "Bishop of Rome" up until this point, with less power and influence than after Leo.
Lastly, aside from all of this successful administration work he completed, Leo was just as focused on serving the people he lead. He was known for moving, thoughtful speeches and homilies, and he wrote over 150 letters. He stressed the dignity of his people, aiding refugees and sufferers of famine and poverty. He wanted to connect with his flock on the level of their everyday needs and questions.
He was given the title "Doctor of the Church" in 1754 for these actions and his writings on doctrine.
AS a leader, you saw firsthand how much suffering and needfulness filled your flock, and through this, you were better able to understand both sides of every argument. Through your careful listening and concern, you were able to facilitate disagreements and reach resolutions. Help us care to be aware of those around us, especially when we disagree,
All of the colors and patterns featured in this image of St. Leo are taken from Traditional icons of him. His scarf references his stole, and the lion that he wears is a symbol for both his name and his incredible leadership.