Popes in a Year
#80 - Pope St. Leo II
Pope from August 17, 682 - June 28, 683 A.D.
Died: June 28, 683 A.D.
Given name: Leo Maneius
Give me the scoop on Leo II.
Leo was actually his first name, though he dropped the surname “Maneius” once elected. He was born in Sicily around the year 611 and his dad’s name was Paulus. Other than that, not much about Leo II’s pre-pope life is known. Leo’s contemporaries spoke highly of him, mentioning him as a man of outstanding character, a lover of the poor, highly educated, and also a great singer. Too bad
Rome’s Got Talent
didn’t exist back then.
Leo, like many of his recent predecessors, restored several churches, but also built a new one. That new church, St. George’s in Velabro, incidentally would become, 12 centuries later, the titular church of
Cardinal John Henry Newman
. Leo II was pope for less than a year and died on June 28, 683.
What was he known for?
Since St. Agatho had died prior to its completion, Pope St. Leo II was the guy who confirmed the teachings of the Sixth Ecumenical Council (aka, the Third Council of Constantinople), and gave the official and infallible “Heck no” to Monothelitism, the heresy that claimed Jesus had two natures but only one will. Leo II’s one clarification to the council’s findings regarded Pope Honorius I, who had been condemned by the council along with the heresy itself. Decades before, Honorius had been negligent in not speaking clearly enough when denouncing Monothelitism and thus gave the heresy a foothold to grow. Leo clarified, therefore, that it was not heresy for which Honorius was condemned, but instead for his carelessness and indirect damage to the Church.
Though he was elected just a few days after the death of his predecessor (January 10, 681) Pope St. Leo II wasn’t consecrated pope until
almost two years later
(August 17, 682). Basically, popes for the century prior had to pay a tax to the Byzantine Court when they were consecrated, but broken promises to the popes and some dispute over the terms were likely what caused the delay.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
Around 682, Chinese capital cities of Chang’an and Luoyang fell on hard times. Huge droughts, floods, plagues of locusts, and epidemics drove grain prices sky high due to food being scarce.
Coming Monday....Pope St. Benedict II
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 2:00AM