Saint Leo I, Pope Of Rome Leo was born in Italy of devout parents. He first served as archdeacon under Pope Sixtus Iii, and following the death of Sixtus he was elevated against his will to the throne of the Pope of Rome. When Attila, with his Huns, drew near to Rome and was prepared to destroy and burn the city, Leo came out before him in his episcopal vestments. He subdued the wrath of the leader of the Huns and averted the destruction of Rome. Attila allowed himself to be counseled by this holy man, but was also frightened by a vision of the Apostles Peter and Paul, who stood alongside Leo and threatened him with flaming swords. Not only did St. Leo save Rome, but he also contributed much to save Orthodoxy from the heresy of Eutyches and Dioscorus. This heresy consisted in the merging of the divine and human natures of Christ into one and, consequently, the denial of the two wills in the person of the Lord Savior. Because of this, the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451 A.D.] was convened, at which time the epistle of St. Leo was read. St. Leo had written this epistle and placed it on the tomb of St. Peter, who corrected it. Before his death, Leo spent forty days in fasting and prayer at the tomb of St. Peter, beseeching him to tell him whether his sins were forgiven. The Apostle Peter appeared to him and said that all of his sins were forgiven except sins committed in the ordination of priests (whence it is evident how grave a sin it is to ordain one who is unworthy). The saint again fell to prayer until he was told that even those sins were forgiven. He peacefully gave up his soul to the Lord. St. Leo reposed in the year 461 A.D.
Saint Flavian Flavian became Patriarch of Constantinople following St. Proclus. He was a contemporary of Pope Leo. He fought resolutely against Eutyches and Dioscorus, but did not live to see the triumph of Orthodoxy at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, for, prior to that, he was so mercilessly beaten and trampled upon at a heretical council in Ephesus that he died there. Flavian was a faithful soldier of Christ–a courageous defender and confessor of the Orthodox Faith. He reposed in the year 449 A.D.
Hymn Of Praise Saint Flavian When pride comes, then comes shame (Proverbs 11:2). That is the word of God, the lesson of life. Heretics, who are they? The children of pride. What did they want? To bring shame. That is why they had to endure shame. Eutyches hoped in the help of the eunuch; Flavian hoped in the help of the Spirit of God. Pride always precedes a fall: Eutyches perished and Flavian conquered. Dioscorus’s hope was his fist; That is why all generations despise him. Flavian, beaten and trodden underfoot, Now is glorified on earth, and blessed in heaven. He defended the truth without fear and without stop. The truth stood firm, and he was not afraid of anything. Leo the Roman extended to him the assistance of a lion In defense of the radiant face of Christ. These two hierarchs, and Eulogius the third one, Guided the Church to victory and joy. Without such spirits, what would the Church be? A wounded bird with broken wings.
Reflection With great difficulty and with even greater effort and sacrifice, the tares of heresy were sifted from the wheat of the truth of Orthodoxy. The heretics have always made use of lower means and base persons in undermining Orthodoxy. Archmandrite Eutyches of Constantinople and Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria– who spread the heretical teaching that there were not two natures in Christ, divine and human, but rather one nature–had as their ally in the imperial court the vile eunuch Chrysaphius. Empress Eudoxia was secretly aligned with them. Patriarch Flavian, like a lion, fearlessly defended Orthodoxy. In this he was assisted by Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor. The eunuch Chrysaphius presented to Emperor Theodosius the most disgusting slanders against Flavian, so that the emperor would remove him from the throne and replace him with the heretic Eutyches. When this and all else failed, the heretics plotted to kill Flavian. At the Robber Council in Ephesus [431 A.D.], they beat him and trampled upon him so badly that St. Flavian gave up his soul to God on the third day. What happened in the end? At the Fourth Ecumenical Council [Chalcedon, 451 A.D.], Eutyches and Dioscorus were anathematized. The eunuch was ousted from the court and shamefully ended his life. The Empress Eudoxia was banished from Constantinople to Palestine. Flavian and Pulcheria were proclaimed saints, and the Orthodox Faith was victoriously confirmed.
Contemplation Contemplate the Lord Jesus among the Pharisees and scribes:
- How He made every effort to raise up the Pharisees and scribes and to save them, and how they made every effort to overthrow and kill Him;
- How He wished to correct their every thought and word, and how they wished to twist His every thought and word;
- How He was saddened that He could not bring them to life, and how they were saddened that they were unable to kill Him.
Reflection on the struggle of the weak with the Almighty “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death” (John 12:10). They agreed among themselves to first kill the Maker and then kill His work. For the risen Lazarus was the work of Christ. What is the use, they iniquitously thought, to kill the Miracle-worker and to leave a living witness of His greatest miracle? For then the people would be inflamed at them as evildoers! But, nevertheless, it happened that they killed Christ and missed Lazarus. And then? And then they and those of like mind killed scores of His apostles and overlooked hundreds. Then they killed thousands and overlooked hundreds of thousands. Then they killed hundreds of thousands and overlooked millions. Finally it became clear that, behind their backs, the slain were resurrecting to life like mown grass and those designated to be killed grew as sown grass before the faces of the murderers. In vain, from their point of view, did the wise Gamaliel say: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it (Acts 5:39). Those who wage war against God throughout the centuries have sharpened their feebleness in vain to mow down the crop of God. The more they cut down, the more the crops of God grew luxuriantly. O demented combatants against Christ, those of that time and the present! Your bludgeon rebounds from the city of Christ and strikes your own hovel, crushing it into dust and ashes. Throughout the ages, you have had enough allies: besides the devil, with you were heretics, idolaters, fanatics, soothsayers, divinators, depraved princes and wealthy men, tyrants and all insensitive sinners. Up to now you have been defeated, and without any doubt all of your allies together with you will be defeated, to the end of time. For this, O almighty and irresistible Lord, glory and praise be to Thee forever. Amen.