Pope Benedict discusses important papal legacy of St. Leo the Great
Published: March 5, 2008
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The pope's roles as a teacher and preacher, as a promoter of peace and as the chief servant of Christian unity are seen clearly in the life and work of St. Leo the Great, Pope Benedict XVI said. The saint, who served as Pope Leo I from 440 to 461, was "one of the greatest popes that ever honored the Roman see, contributing much to reinforcing its authority and prestige," Pope Benedict said. The pope spoke about St. Leo during his March 5 general audience at the Vatican. He said that the earliest examples of papal homilies and preaching that exist today are from St. Leo, and they give a picture of a pope "who gathered the people around him." St. Leo's efforts to protect the people of Rome from barbarian invasions, particularly his famous meeting with Attila the Hun in 452 to persuade him not to destroy Rome, "increased the importance and prestige of the see of Rome," the pope said. The meeting with Attila, he said, "remains an emblematic sign of the actions on behalf of peace undertaken by the pontiff."
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