Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Leander of Seville

Commentary on Job being given from
Pope Gregory to Bishop Leander of Seville
St. Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636) has been mentioned here before as the author of a popular encyclopedia of information and etymologies. He was not the only saint in the family, however. His brother, Leander (c. 534 – 13 March 600/601), was also made a saint.*

Leander was Bishop of Seville (a position later held by Isidore), using his authority in political ways: he tried to convert Hermengild, the son of the Arian Christian King of the Visigoths in Spain, to Roman Catholic Christianity. Hermengild converted, his father King Liuvigild got angry, and suddenly Leander was exiled.

He traveled to the other end of the Mediterranean, where he continued to oppose Arianism by writing treatises against it. Here he met and became friends with the man who would later become Pope Gregory the Great, (mentioned here). The two remained in contact, and letters that passed between them still exist.

Hermengild, the rebellious son, was put to death by his father (and therefore became a martyr in the Catholic Church). Luvigild died in 589, and sometime after that Leander returned to Spain, convoking the Third Council of Toledo that renounced Arianism. Bishop Leander spent the rest of his life fighting heresy in Spain. When he died, in 600/601, Isidore became bishop in his place.

*As were their siblings, Florentina and Fulgentius.

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