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The Two Republics, or Rome and the United States of America

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    LEO I, “THE GREAT,” A. D. 440-461

    Such was the heritage bequeathed to Leo by his predecessors, and the arrogance of his own native disposition, with the grand opportunities which offered during his long rule, added to it a thousandfold. At the very moment of his election he was absent in Gaul on a mission as mediator to reconcile a dispute between two of the principal men of the empire. He succeeded in his mission, and was hailed as “the Angel of Peace,” and the “Deliverer of the Empire.” In a sermon, he showed what his ambition embraced. He portrayed the powers and glories of the former Rome as they were reproduced in Catholic Rome. The conquests and universal sway of Heathen Rome were but the promise of the conquests and universal sway of Catholic Rome. Romulus and Remus were but the precursors of Peter and Paul. Rome of former days had by her armies conquered the earth and sea: now again, by the see of the holy blessed Peter as head of the world, Rome through her divine religion would dominate the earth. 8[Page 452] Milman, “History of Latin Christianity,” book ii, chap. iv, par. 2.TTR 452.2

    In A. D. 445, “at the avowed instance of Leo” and at the dictation, if not in the actual writing, of Leo, Valentinian III issued a “perpetual edict” “commanding all bishops to pay an entire obedience and submission to the orders of the apostolic see;” “to observe, as law, whatever it should please the bishop of Rome to command;” “that the bishop of Rome had a right to command what he pleased;” and “whoever refused to obey the citation of the Roman pontiff should be compelled to do so by the moderator of the province” in which the recalcitrant bishop might dwell. 9[Page 453] Id., par. 16; and Bower, “History of the popes,” Leo, par. 8.TTR 452.3

    This made his authority absolute over all the West, and now he determined to extend it over the East, and so make it universal. As soon as he learned the decision of the Council of Ephesus, he called a council in Rome, and by it rejected all that had been done by the council at Ephesus, and wrote to the emperor, Theodosius II, “entreating him in the name of the holy Trinity, to declare null what had been done there,” and set everything back as it was before that council was called, and so let the matter remain until a general council could be held in Italy.TTR 453.1

    Leo addressed not the emperor Theodosius alone, to have another council called. He wrote to Pulcheria, appointing her a legate of St. Peter, and entreated her “to employ all her interest with the emperor to obtain the assembling of an ecumenical council, and all her authority to prevent the evils that would be otherwise occasioned by the war which had been lately declared against the faith of the church.”—Bower. 10[Page 453] “History of; the Popes,” Leo, par. 35.TTR 453.2

    In February 450, the emperor Valentinian III, with his mother Placidia and his wife Eudocia, who was the daughter of Theodosius II, made a visit to Rome. The next day after their arrival, they went to the Church of St. Peter, where they were received by Leo, who, as soon as he met them, put on all the agony he could, and with sobs, and tears, and sighs, he addressed them; but on account of his great excess of grief, his words were so mumbled that nothing could be made of them.TTR 453.3

    Presently the two women began to cry. This somewhat relieved the stress upon Leo, so that with much eloquence, he represented the great danger that threatened the church. Then he mustered up his tears again, and mixed them with more sighs and sobs, and begged the emperor and empress, by the apostle Peter to whom they were about to pay their respects, by their own salvation and by the salvation of Theodosius, to write to the emperor, and spare no pains to persuade him to nullify the proceedings of the second Council of Ephesus, and call another general council, this time in Italy.TTR 453.4

    As soon as it was learned in the East what strenuous efforts Leo was making to have another general council called, many of the bishops who had condemned Flavianus began to make overtures to the party of Leo, so that if another council should be called, they might escape condemnation. Dioscorus learning this, called a synod of ten bishops in Alexandria, and solemnly excommunicated Leo, bishop of Rome, for presuming to judge anew, and annul what had already been judged and finally determined by a general council.TTR 454.1

    Leo finally sent four legates to the court of Theodosius, to urge upon him the necessity of another general council, but before they reached Constantinople, Theodosius was dead; and having left no heir to his throne, Pulcheria, Leo’s legate, became empress. As there was no precedent in Roman history to sanction the rule of a woman alone, she married a senator by the name of Marcian, and invested him with the imperial robes, while she retained and exercised the imperial authority. The first thing they did was to burn Chrysaphius. The new authority received Leo’s legates with great respect, and returned answer that they had nothing so much at heart as the unity of the church and the extirpation of heresies, and that therefore they would call a general council. Not long afterward they wrote to Lee, inviting him to assist in person at the proposed council.TTR 454.2

    No sooner was it known that Theodosius was dead, and Pulcheria and Marcian in power, than the bishops who had indorsed and praised Eutyches, changed their opinions and condemned him and all who held with him. Anatolius, an defender of Eutyches, who had succeeded Flavianus as archbishop of Constantinople, and had been ordained by Dioscorus himself, “assembled in great haste all the bishops, abbots, presbyters, and deacons, who were then in Constantinople, and in their presence not only received and signed the famous letter of Leo to Flavianus, concerning the incarnation, but at the same time anathematized Nestorius and Eutyches, their doctrine, and all their followers, declaring that he professed no other faith but what was held and professed by the Roman Church and by Leo.”—Bower. 11[Page 455] “History of the Popes,” Leo, par. 40. The example of Anatolius was followed by other bishops who had favored Eutyches, and by most of those who had acted in the late council, “and nothing was heard but anathemas against Eutyches, whom most of those who uttered them, had but a few months before, honored as a new apostle, and as the true interpreter of the doctrine of the church and the Fathers.”—Bower. 12[Page 455] Id.TTR 454.3

    By an imperial message dated May 17, A. D. 451, a general council was summoned to meet at Nice in Bithynia, the first of September. The council met there accordingly, but an invasion of the Huns from Illyricum made it necessary for Marcian to remain in the capital; and therefore the council was removed from Nice to Chalcedon. Accordingly at Chalcedon there assembled the largest council ever yet held, the number of bishops being six hundred and thirty.TTR 455.1

    Marcian, not being able to be present at the opening, appointed six of the chief officers of the empire, and fourteen men of the Senate as commissioners to represent him at the council. Leo’s legates presided; their names were Paschasinus, Lucentius, and Boniface.TTR 455.2

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