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St. Leontius, Bishop.

November 12, 2009

St. Leontius, Bishop of Cesarea in Cappadocia in the fourth Century, was raised to that See at a Time when the Christian Religion was violently persecuted by the Heathen Emperors, and the pure Faith attack’d by the Arians.  Upon both which Occasions he behaved himself in a Manner suitable to his Station in the Church.  He suffered much under Maximin and Licinius, and laboured hard in animating several Christians against the Fear of Persecution, and persuading them to persevere in their Profession ’till Death.

When the Heat of the Persecution was over, it was the Business of the Prelates of the Church to think of proper Means of regaining those unhappy Persons, who had been weak and timorous enough to renounce their Faith rather than suffer for it.  Leontius was one of the Council of Ancyra in Galatia, which met to regulate the Penance of those Apostates.  Here a due Medium was observed between a Rigour that might make them desperate, and a Facility that might make the Crime seem inconsiderable; and in all their Orders they had a strict Regard to the different Degrees of the Fault before them.

He was one of the Fathers of the Council of Nice in 325.  He took Nazianzum in his Way to that City, where he found St. Gregory, Father to the famous Doctor of the same Name.  Gregory had been unhappily involved in a Mixture of Error and Superstition:  But the pious Labours and good Example of Nonna his Wife converted him; and he took that Occasion to profess his Faith, and receive Baptism at the Hands of Leontius.

St. Athanasius does Justice to the Saint’s Character, when he ranks him among those Apostolical Men, whose Faith is proposed as a certain Rule for the Faithful.  A Life spent in asserting the Truth, and illustrated by exact Purity of Morals, ended in a Death as happy as holy.  But the Time and other Circumstances of it are unknown.

The Lives of Saints.  Collected from Authentick Records of Church History.  With a full Account of the other Festivals throughout the Year, The whole Interspersed with Suitable Reflections.  Volume I.  The Second Edition, 1750.  From Google Books.  Original image here.

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