Bishop of that city, b. at Carthage about 534, of a Roman family established in that city; d. at Seville, 13 March, 600 or 601. Some historians claim that his father Severian was duke or governor of Carthage, but St. Isidore simply states that he was a citizen of that city. The family emigrated from Carthage about 554 and went to Seville. The eminent worth of the children of Severian would seem to indicate that they were reared in distinguished surroundings. Severian had three sons, Leander Isidore, and Fulgentius and one daughter, Florentina. St. Leander and St. Isidore both became bishops of Seville; St. Fulgentius, Bishop of Carthagena, and St. Florentina, a nun, who directed forty convents and one thousand nuns. It has been also believed, but wrongly, that Theodosia, another daughter of Severian, became the wife of the Visigothic king, Leovigild. Leander became at first a Benedictine monk, and then in 579 Bishop of Seville. In the meantime be founded a celebrated school, which soon became a centre of learning and orthodoxy. He assisted the Princess Ingunthis to convert her husband Hermenegild, the eldest son of Leovigild, and defended the convert against his father’s cruel reprisals. In endeavoring to save his country fromn Arianism, Leander showed himself an orthodox Christian and a far-sighted patriot. Exiled by Leovigild, he withdrew to Byzantium from 579 to 582. It is possible, but not proved, that he sought to rouse the Emperor Tiberius to take up arms against the Arian king: in any case the attempt was without result. He profited, however, by his stay at Byzantium to compose important works against Arianism, and there became acquainted with the future Gregory the Great, then legate of Pelagius II at the Byzantine court. A close friensdship thenceforth united the two men, and the correspondence of St. Gregory with St. Leander remains one of the latter’s greatest titles to honour. It is not known exactly when Leander returned from exile. Leovigild put to death his son Hermenegild in 585, and himself died in 589.
In this decisive hour for the future of Spain, Leander did most to ensure the religious unity, the fervent faith, and the broad culture on which was based its later greatness. He had a share in the conversion of Reccared, and never ceased to exercise over him a deep and beneficial influence. At the Third Council of Toledo, where Visigothic Spain abjured Arianism, Leander delivered the closing sermon. On his return from this council, Leander convened an important synod in his metropolitan city of Seville (Conc. Hisp., I), and never afterwards ceased his efforts to consolidate the work, in which his brother and successor St. Isidore was to follow him. Leander received the pallium in August, 599. There remain unfortunately of this writer, superior to his brother Isidore, only two works: De institutione virginum et contemptu mundi, a monastic rule composed for his sister, and Homilia de triumpho ecclesiæ ob conversionem Gothorum (P.L., LXXII). St. Isidore wrote of his brother: “This man of suave eloquence and eminent talent shone as brightly by his virtues as by his doctrine. By his faith and zeal the Gothic people have been converted from Arianism to the Catholic faith” (De script. eccles., xxviii).
PRAYER TO SAINT LEANDER
Devoted very young to the monastic life, there you have drawn the spirit of devotion and contemplation of Christ Savior in the scriptures and the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.
Take me in your fervent prayers so that to your example I can open my doors to Christ, to consecrate my youth without calculations.
Help me with the gifts that you animated to answer this pressing call of lord to follow him.
By your patience and your apostolic concern, you bring Visigoths to the unity of the Church,
Lead me to the father’s house and give me the courage to dare recognize my infidelities, my weaknesses and to rediscover the divine mercy of Christ in the sacrament of reconciliation.
With the congregation of St. Jean Marie Vianney, Padre Pio, Maria Goretti, Augustine, John Paul II, Mother Theresa, Faustino, Gerard Raymond … give me daily strive for holiness, to complete in my flesh what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for his body which is the Church and do my thorn an offering available to father.
Get for me from him the divine Paraclete,
Let him come in me light the fire that never dies in our darkness and give me the graces I need to live as a child of the father and deal with daily temptations of the flesh of sin, of all defilements of my soul and my body.
You know all of my weakness, teach me to your school, and lead my steps along the paths of Our lady of the pieta, she inspired you that parenthood to educate St. Isidore and St. Florence.
From GREGROIRE LEGRAND, you received the holy image of Our Lady painted the hands of St. Luke the Evangelist,
By your fervent prayers, give me to turn my attention to the Virgin of Nazareth,
To meditate with her the mysteries of the father throughout my earthly pilgrimage and be totally to her, under her constant protection.
Mortifying your passions by fasting and penances; nourishing your spirit of prayer and the study of sacred literature; helping the poor, urging the rich to give alms and carrying everyone to virtue until at last it pleased God to give you the reward of all your work,
Grant that I may follow your example, and be the same for brothers today, and at the hour of death, be at my side to take me to the father, worn by married.
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