St Leo the Great


Leo took measures against no less than three heresies. The laxity which was permitting Pelagians to receive communion was done away with, and explicit confession of faith demanded before admittance to full church membership. Manichaeism had been brought to Rome by refugees from Vandal attacks in Africa, and Leo saw to it that the clandestine community was brought into public light. He also gave vigorous support to the bishops in Spain and Africa in their work against Priscillianism. The doctrinal disputes which were engaging the church in the east concerned the nature of Our Lord himself. In 451 a general council of over six hundred bishops was convened at Chalcedon, and to this gathering Leo’s letter on the two-fold nature of Our Lord was read. ‘Peter has spoken by Leo!’ was the decision of the bishops. This famous letter has become a classic, setting forth the church’s teaching on the nature of Christ.


About Author

Fr Anthony is a priest of the Congregation of St Michael the Archangel, and is currently the Director of Identity and Mission at the Australian Catholic University.