St. Leo the Great, Pope

Pope Leo and the Hun 
Friends in Christ, today is the Feast of St. Leo the Great. Pope Leo lived about the year 450. In his days, he had many problems on his hands; not only did he have to deal with heretics, but at the same time, the city of Rome was a mess. No longer the seat of power, it was a small outpost in a dying Roman Empire, with poverty, violence, and plague.
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In Italy barbarians were invading – society was crumbling; the people of influence and culture, had long since fled to Constantinople, the new capital. So here was the Pope, with so many troubles and no help at all.
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It was at that time, that Attila the Hun, the famous barbarian king, invaded Italy. Attila was one of the most fearsome enemies of the west. Into Italy he brought his armies, sacking and looting city after city; and after three years of this, his army hurried on to take Rome.
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The people were afraid. There was nothing to defend them. So they turned to Pope Leo. ‘Holy Father, they cried. You must help us!’ Well, with no army at all, Pope Leo spent 3 days and nights in prayer, in the church of the apostles.
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Then, rising up, he asked his associates: ‘If any of you wish to follow, come along with me.’ Then he went out of the city, to personally meet Attila the Hun. We don’t know what conversation happened between Pope Leo and Attila the Hun, but we know this: after he and this fearsome barbarian had spoken, Attila knelt down at the popes feet promising to do whatever he asked.
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Leo asked him to withdraw his forces from Italy and to set his prisoners free, to which he agreed.
The chief guard of Attila, protested: ‘was the conqueror of the world to be defeated by a mere priest? Attila said to him: I acted for my own good and for yours, for as we spoke, I saw standing at his right side, a mighty warrior with his sword drawn, who said to me, ‘Unless you obey this man, you and your people will perish.’
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To this day it is unclear who was seen, standing next to Pope Leo, many believe it was St. Michael the Archangel.
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So it was, in the Year of Our Lord, 452, that Attila the Hun was mysteriously stopped in his tracks by St. Leo the Great. One of the greatest Popes the Church has ever had.

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