Spirituality for Today – March 2015 – Volume 19, Issue 8

The 103rd Pope
Saint Leo IV

An image of Saint Leo IV, the 103rd PopeSaint Leo IV, the 103rd Pope

Pope St. Leo IV (847 – 855)   He had an authoritarian style, independent in action, and was a disciplinarian. At the time that he took office, Saracen pirates had pillaged Rome. Pope Leo worked hard at the task of rebuilding much of Rome. He was famous for the construction of a forty foot wall, known as the "Leonine City" that surrounded much of the Vatican property as well as Saint Peter's itself. His diplomatic skills resulted in establishing alliances among various cities situated within the Italian peninsula. His naval forces defeated a Saracen fleet that had designs on sacking Rome for a second time.

His strong leadership underscored his superior regard for the power and status of the papacy. He stood his ground against emperors and patriarchs; refusing to bend to the will of the emperor regarding ecclesial appointments and reprimanding the Patriarch of Constantinople for not seeking Rome's consultation before acting in serious ecclesial matters.

Liturgically, Pope Leo supported the composition and use of Church music and incorporated the asperges (sprinkling of Holy Water) within the celebration of the Eucharist.

Pope Leo IV is interred within the Basilica of Saint Peter.

Habemus papam