Saint Leo Magnus (17th century) by Francisco Herrera the Younger, in the Prado Museum, Madrid (photo from wikipedia)

Pope St. Leo the Great, or Pope Leo I, was born to an aristocratic family in the early fifth century.

Under Pope Celestine I, Leo was made a deacon around 431 AD and his skills as a peacemaker were made use of to resolve both secular and theological issues.

Following the death of Pope Sixtus III in 440 AD, the deacon was elected to the papacy unanimously.

His swift election reflected the respect he had garnered among the people from his service to the Lord and the affection the faithful had for this pastoral and wise servant of the Lord. (

During his reign, Pope Leo I worked to preserve unity within the Church, fighting against Pelagianism and Manichaeism. The former believing that humanity can be perfected without God and the latter believing that matter is evil. Pope Leo wrote a letter on the two inseparable natures of Jesus Christ, resolving much of the confusion arising from the mystery of the Incarnation.

It affirmed the fullness of what occurred in the Incarnation, as well as its implications for all men and women who are baptized into Jesus Christ. (

Finally, this great saint convinced the Huns not to invade Rome in 452 AD.

Pope St. Leo the Great died on November 10, 461.