St Leo the Great

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Pope. Born in Rome probably, in the 5th century, of Tuscan parents, little is known of Pope Leo's early life. As a young man he was a deacon and was employed as a peacemaker between two generals in Gaul.

He was elected Pope in 440 and during his 20 years pontificate devoted himself to unity and peace in the church.

He fought against the teachings of Eutyches, a monk who insisted that Jesus had only one nature. In 451 he wrote his famous 'Tome' sent to the Council of Chalcedon through the patriarch Flavian of Constantinople.

Ninety-six of his sermons and 432 of his letters survive. St Leo was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1754.