Lent Madness: Leo the Great vs. Timothy

No, I won’t be mortally offended and quit doing Lent Madness in a huff if my namesake doesn’t win. I am, of course, the completely impartial host of this little Lenten “devotion.” And if I was really trying to rig this thing do you think I’d have Timothy go up against a saint with the moniker “the Great” in the first round? In fact I’ve never even cast a vote in Lent Madness — though my two boys have been casting a single vote after we read about the contenders before bed. It’s become our own little Lenten discipline. Oh, and don’t read anything into the disparity in the size of the pictures of these two fine saints.

In the latest matchup, William Tyndale trounced Bernard 68% to 32%. Click Lent Madness 2011 to view the updated tournament bracket.

Leo the Great (400 — 461) was the fifth century Bishop of Rome who served amid a turbulent era. He was both head of the Church and a diplomat of great skill who twice saved Rome from total destruction. He negotiated with Attila the Hun to withdraw his forces in 452 and three years later when the Vandals captured Rome he convinced them not to destroy the city.

Theologically, Leo had a strong influence over the doctrine of the Church formed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. This Fourth Ecumenical Council, with Leo’s strong support, affirmed the dual nature of Christ as both fully human and fully divine — two natures in one person.

It was during his era that the Church’s power was more fully concentrated in Rome. His assertion that the Bishop of Rome had universal jurisdiction held sway and helped consolidate Papal power and authority.

Collect for Leo the Great O Lord our God, grant that your Church, following the teaching of your servant Leo of Rome, may hold fast the great mystery of our redemption, and adore the one Christ, true God and true Man, neither divided from our human nature nor separate from your divine Being; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and  or ever. Amen.

Timothy (circa 17 to 80 AD) was a missionary companion of the apostle Paul and appears in the New Testament a number of times. He is first seen in the Acts of the Apostles and is mentioned nine other times as either joining in Paul’s greetings or as a messenger himself. He also has two letters addressed specifically to him (First and Second Timothy). From these letters we gather that Paul commissioned Timothy to oversee the newly founded Christian community in Ephesus.

Timothy evidently grew up in a household of faith — his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are noted for their piety and faith — and Paul praises him for his knowledge of Scripture. According to tradition, Paul consecrated Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus in the year 65. He was stoned to death about 15 years later after trying to stop a pagan procession of idols.

Collect for Timothy (and Titus) Just and merciful God, in every generation you raise up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise your holy Name: We thank you for sending Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up your Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we too may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.



One Comment on “Lent Madness: Leo the Great vs. Timothy”

  1. commcanon says:

    Voting for Timothy because anyone who could put up with Paul must have been a pretty good guy. Can you imaging being Paul’s travel companion? Ugh. Miffed at Leo because if he had not consolidated the power of Rome so thoroughly in the 5th C, the Celtic mission might not have gone south a couple of centuries later at the Synod of Whitby. The “what might have beens” haunt me to this very day.

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