Saints & Angels

The Words of Saint Pope Leo the Great



This is the complementary post to Saint Pope Leo the Great: Doctor of the Unity of the Church.

On Eutyches’ denial of the two natures of Christ –

“When you cross-examined Eutyches and he replied, “I confess that our Lord was of two natures before the union, but I confess one nature after the union”, I am amazed that such an absurd and corrupt declaration of faith was not very severely censured by the judges; and that an extremely foolish statement was disregarded, as if nothing whatever offensive had been heard. It is just as wicked to say that the only-begotten Son of God was of two natures before the incarnation as it is abominable to claim that there was a single nature in him after the Word was made flesh. Eutyches must not suppose that what he said was either correct or tolerable just because no clear statement of yours refuted it. So we remind you, dearest brother, of your charity’s responsibility to see to it that if through God’s merciful inspiration the case is ever settled, the rash and ignorant fellow is also purged of what is blighting his mind.” – The Tome of Leo 

The Roman Pontiffs have always attributed the primacy to themselves –

“[To the bishops of Mauretania, a. 446] ‘Lay hands hastily on no one, and do not share in other men’s sins (1 Tim. 5:22). What is to lay on hands but to confer the priestly dignity on unproved men before the proper age, before there has been time to test them, before they have deserved it by their obedience, before they have been tried by discipline? And what is to share in other men’s sins but for the ordainer to become such as is he who ought not to have been ordained by him?”  – Letters, No. 12

On the Incarnation of Jesus Christ –

“The last discourse, dearly-beloved, of which we desire now to give the promised portion, had reached that point in the argument where we were speaking of that cry which the crucified  Lord uttered to the Father: we bade the simple and unthinking hearer not to take the words ‘My God, &c.’ (Ps. 21:1), in a sense as if, when Jesus was fixed upon the wood of the cross, the Omnipotence of the Father’s Deity had gone away from Him; seeing that God’s and Man’s Nature were so completely joined in Him that the union could not be destroyed by punishment nor by death. For while each substance retained its own properties, God neither held aloof from the suffering of His body nor was made possible by the flesh, because the Godhead which was in the Sufferer did not actually suffer.” – Sermons, No. 68:1

On the Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary –

“And by a new nativity [Christ] was begotten, conceived by a Virgin, born of a Virgin, without paternal desire, without injury to the mother’s chastity…The origin is different but the nature like: not by intercourse with man but by the power of God was it brought about: for a Virgin conceived, a Virgin bare, and a Virgin she remained.” – Sermons, No. 22:2

On the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist –

“For when the Lord says, ‘unless you have eaten the flesh of the Son of Man, and drunk His blood, you will not have life in you’ (Jn. 6:54), you ought so to be partakers at the Holy Table, as to have no doubt whatever concerning the reality of Christ’s Body and Blood. For that is taken in the mouth which is believed in Faith, and it is vain for them to respond Amen who dispute that which is taken.” – Sermons, No. 91:3

On the importance of Matrimony as a true Sacrament –

“A wife is different from a concubine, even as a bondwoman from a freewoman…And hence, since the marriage tie was from the beginning so constituted as apart from the joining of the sexes to symbolize the mystic union of Christ and His Church, it is understood that that woman has no part in matrimony, in whose case it is shown that the mystery of marriage has not taken place.” – Letters, 167:4



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