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Church Fathers
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St. Leo the Great

 

Saint Leo the Great - TransfigurationPope St. Leo the Great: Biography and Writings

 

Early Church Father and Doctor of the Church

by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

 

(scroll down for a list of online writings) Life of St. Leo the Great: It is regrettable that so little is known about the early life of this man who proved to be such an extraordinary shepherd of the Catholic Church that he came to be known not only as Pope Saint Leo I, but also is one of the only two Popes in two thousand years to be called "the Great."  What we do know is that as a deacon of the Roman Church, before being elevated to the office of Pope in 440 AD, St. Leo the Great had opposed the heresy of Pelagianism which taught that grace was not necessary for salvation, but was rather a bonus that God granted to those who earned it by their good works.  As Pope, St. Leo the Great was forceful and unambiguous in his Christological teaching which affirmed the full divinity and humanity of Christ.  In fact his most famous writing, commonly known as the Tome of St. Leo (449), was the basis of the Council of Chalcedon's (451) dogmatic definition of Christ as one Divine Person possessing two complete natures, human and divine.

 

St. Leo the Great was Pope during the middle of the fifth century, a troubled time when barbarian armies were ravaging the once mighty Roman Empire.  For all intents and purposes, the Western Empire was in total political and military collapse and there was a vacuum of political leadership.  Pope St. Leo filled the void and became the advocate for the temporal as well as spiritual needs of his flock.  He is perhaps most famous for persuading Attila the Hun to abandon his plans to sack the city of Rome and to withdraw his forces beyond the Danube river (452).  St. Leo once again was the spokesperson for the Roman citizenry in 455 when the Vandal barbarians swept into Central Italy, securing concessions from them.

 

Through both his powerful teaching and his leadership, Pope St. Leo the Great very much strengthened the office of the Papacy and made a strong biblical case for the Divine institution of this ministry by examining the biblical evidence for Peter's unique role among the apostles.

 

The writings that survive by St. Leo, besides his famous Tome, consist of 143 letters and 96 sermons.  His sermons cover every season of the liturgical year and are indeed a treasure.  Excerpts from these letters and sermons are included below to you a taste of this man's clear and vigorous way of preaching and teaching the faith passed down from the apostles.  St. Leo the Great died in 461, is regarded as one of the most important of the Western Fathers of the Church and was declared a "Doctor of the Church" by Pope Benedict XIV.   For an overview of the Early Church Fathers by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, click here.

 

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 The Fathers of the Church -Who They Are and Why They MatterFathers of the Church Early Church Fathers CD by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers."  Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day.  In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us.   

 


 

I Believe - The Heart of Catholic Faith

First given as a Lenten retreat, this is an awesome 4 session program to revitalize your faith and prepare you for the joy of Easter. Great for individuals or families or small groups. The workbook is a treasure of discussion questions, devotions and spiritual exercises that can serve as an easy-to-follow roadmap through the Lent or Holy Week that will break you out of stale patterns and enrich both your prayer and your understanding of the central truths of the Catholic faith, empowering you to share that faith with others.




Title Category Excerpt Download
Ascension of Christ Increases Faith - Leo the Great Easter Season Yes
Baptismal Priesthood, Ministerial Priesthood--Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Liturgy and 7 Sacraments,
Baptism
Yes
Beatitudes Introduction --Leo the Great Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Christian Lifestyle
Yes Download
Beatitudes--Blessed are the Peacemakers (Leo the Great) Early Church Fathers,
Christian Lifestyle,
Catholic Bible Study
Yes
Beatitudes--Hunger for Righteousness (Leo the Great) Early Church Fathers,
Christian Lifestyle
Yes
Between Resurrection and Ascension-St Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Easter Season
Yes
Blessed the Poor in Spirit - Leo the Great Yes
Christ Lives in His Church-St. Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Easter Season,
Eucharist
Yes Download
Christian Remember Your Dignity--St. Leo Early Church Fathers,
Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ
Yes Download
Christmas is the Birthday of Peace--St. Leo Early Church Fathers,
Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ
Yes
Creator of Time is Born in Time--St. Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ
Yes Download
Epiphany -- Star Invites all Nations to Find Christ (Leo the Great) Early Church Fathers,
Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ,
Evangelization
Yes Download
Feast of the Annunciation: God Becomes Man-St Leo Early Church Fathers,
Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ
Yes
Lenten Fasting and Almsgiving--St. Leo the Great Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Virtues & Christian Character
Yes Download
Mary the Royal Virgin-St Leo the Great Advent & Christmas Season Resources & Readings,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ,
Blessed Virgin Mary
Yes
Meditating on Christ's Passion-Leo the Great Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Early Church Fathers,
Passion of Christ
Yes Download
Peter and Paul--St. Leo Papacy,
Catholic Saints
Yes
Power of the Cross -- St. Leo the Great Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Early Church Fathers,
Passion of Christ
Yes Download
Recognize the Dignity of your Nature Virtues & Christian Character Yes
Sermon 95 on the Beatitudes-St Leo Early Church Fathers,
Virtues & Christian Character,
Catholic Bible Study
No
St. Leo the Great - Letters 60-173 Early Church Fathers No
St. Leo the Great Letters 1-59 Early Church Fathers No
St. Peter and the Keys--St. Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Papacy
Yes
The New Law-St Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Catholic Bible Study
Yes
Tome of Leo-St. Leo the Great Early Church Fathers,
Incarnation -- God Becomes Man in Jesus Christ
No
Transfiguration, Law and Grace - St. Leo the Great Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Early Church Fathers,
Catholic Bible Study
Yes Download
Treasures of Justice-St Leo the Great Virtues & Christian Character,
Heaven,
Hell,
Purgatory,
2nd Coming of Christ,
Catholic Bible Study
Yes
Virtue of Charity-St. Leo Lenten Season and Holy Week Resources,
Early Church Fathers,
Virtues & Christian Character
Yes Download

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