Science of the Saints, 5-III-2019 (20 Feb.), St. Leo, Bishop of Catania

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Sainted Leo was bishop of the city of Catania, in Sicily. He was famed for his benevolence and charity, and his Christian love for the poor and the vagrant. The Lord granted him the gifts of healing of various illnesses, and also wonderworking.

During the time when Saint Leo was bishop in Catania, there lived a certain sorcerer magician named Heliodorus, who impressed people with his fake miracles. This fellow was originally a Christian, but then he secretly rejected Christ and became a servant of the devil. Saint Leo often urged Heliodorus to be done with his wicked deeds and return to God, but in vain. One time Heliodorus got so impudent that, having entered into the church where the bishop was celebrating Divine services, he by his sorcery sowed confusion and temptation there, trying to create a disturbance. Seeing the people beset by devils under the sorceror’s spell, Saint Leo realised that the time of gentle persuasions had passed. He calmly emerged from the altar and, grabbing the magician by the neck with his omophorion, he led him out of the church into the city square. There he forced Heliodorus to own up to all his wicked deeds; he commanded a bonfire be built, and without flinching he jumped together with the sorcerer into the fire, while having on his omophorion. Thus they stood in the fire, until Heliodorus got burnt, while by the power of God Saint Leo remained unharmed. This miracle while still during his lifetime brought Saint Leo reknown. When he died, at his grave a woman with issue of blood received healing. The body of the saint was placed in a church of the holy Martyress Lucy, which he himself had built, and later on his relics were transferred into a church of Sainted Martin the Merciful, Bishop of Tours.

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