The Life and Times of St. Leo the Great

The Life and Times of St. Leo the Great

The Life and Times of St. Leo the Great

The Life and Times of St. Leo the Great

Excerpt

Among the many distinguished occupants of the Roman See few are better known to English students of Christian Doctrine and Church History than Leo 1, commonly called "the Great." Yet hitherto, apart from a number of French'and German monographs, they have been largely dependent on incidental notices and references contained in works of a more general character. Dr. Bright has provided us with a selection of Leo's Sermons on the Incarnation, and Dr. Gore has given us a sketch of his life in the series The Fathers for English Readers, but neither of these is sufficient to do justice to his importance in relation to the history of the Church as a whole.

The Vatican Constitution of 1870, De Ecclesia Christi, assigns a twofold Primacy to the Roman See, one of Jurisdiction and one of Doctrine. It may perhaps be admitted that it is not till the appearance of the Fourth Tractate of Gelasius I that we find a clear and unequivocal assertion of the former. Yet it is beyond any possibility of doubt that we owe to Leo I the earliest affirmation of the Doctrinal Primacy, an affirmation which was widely accepted or conceded by churches in the East as well as in the West. The fact that certain subsequent occupants of the Roman See did much to undermine the grandeur of Leo's conception of the office of the Papacy affects in no way this simple fact of history.

It is hoped that the present study may be useful, not only to the student of Papal History in particular, but to the more general reader, and by making use of much recent investigation of the problems involved in the consideration of this period, may give not only a more accurate picture than has hitherto been available of the life and work of this great Christian bishop against the background of contemporary history, but may serve to bring into clearer relief the outstanding features of a noble character.

In the preparation of this work, which has been much delayed by preoccupation with pastoral duty, the present writer has been under considerable obligation to a number of . . .

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