Sermons

By Jane Patricia Freeland; Agnes Josephine Conway et al. | Go to book overview

ANNUAL COLLECTIONS

Known together as the De Collectis (Concerning the Collections), Sermons 6-11 deal with the annual collection of alms taken up for the sick and the poor of Rome. Leo identifies the practice as "established by the Holy Fathers with most salutary effect" ( Serm. 7.1), insisting that "the things that have been laid down by tradition from the apostles" should be preserved "with lasting dedication" ( Serm. 8.1 and cf. 9.3, 10.1, et al.).

Each sermon mentions a different day of the week on which the offerings were to be made.1. Although the particular time of year is not mentioned, many historians believe that the collections took place after the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (29 June) to counter the pagan festival Ludi Apollinares held from 6-13 July.2. Leo spoke rather harshly about pagan activities3. that had provided the impetus for beginning this apostolic institution (Cf. Serm. 8.1 et al.).

It is now thought, however, that this public work of mercy was actually directed against the Ludi Plebeii and held annually in November.4. For one thing, most manuscript holdings place the Collection sermons immediately after the Elevation sermons delivered at the end of September. Furthermore, in Serm. 9.4 (443) Leo urges his people to expose any concealed Manichaeans. By the time of Serm. 16 (datable to

____________________
1.
Sunday: Serm. 6.2; Monday: Serm. 7.1; Tuesday: Serm. 8.1; Wednesday: Serm. 9.1; Saturday: Serm. 11.2.
2.
Ludi Apollinares, inaugurated in 212 B.C. during a crisis of the second Punic War, were celebrated in honor of the god Apollo. They included plays and games held in the Circus.
3.
"Since, at that time, the people who had once been pagan were ministering to demons with heightened superstition, the most holy sacrificial offering of our alms would be practiced in order to counter those ungodly victims" ( Serm. 9.3). "It was, therefore, in an attempt to dismantle the snares of the ancient enemy that the collection was first established in the Church (quite deliberately) on the very day that the ungodly were ministering to the devil under the guise of their idols" ( Serm. 8.2). "Whenever the blindness of pagans becomes more intently focused on its own superstitions, then especially should the people of God apply themselves with energy to prayer and pious works" ( Serm. 8.1).
4.
Ludi Plebeii, taking place--until the fourth century A.D.--from 12-16 November, consisted in processions with statues of the gods, feasts, plays, and chariot races.

-34-

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Sermons
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Abbreviations vii
  • Select Bibliography ix
  • Introduction 1
  • His Elevation to the See of Peter 17
  • Annual Collections 34
  • Days of Fast in December 49
  • Christmas 76
  • Epiphany 132
  • Days of Fast in Lent 166
  • Lenten Sermon on the Transfiguration 218
  • Passion of the Lord 225
  • Ascension 322
  • Pentecost 330
  • Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul 352
  • Commemorating Alaric's Invasion of Rome 360
  • Martyrdom of the Maccabees 362
  • Feast of St. Lawrence 365
  • Days of Fast in September 368
  • On the Beatitudes 394
  • Against Eutyches 401
  • Indices 405
  • Index of Holy Scripture Numerical References to Leo Indicate Sermon.Section(subsection) 427
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