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E05480: Leo the Great, writing in Latin in Rome in 451, refers to the translation to Constantinople and burial of the remains of *Flavian (bishop of Constantinople, ob. 449, S02069); account in two letters, to the empress Pulcheria and emperor Marcian.

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posted on 21.05.2018, 00:00 by frances
Leo the Great, Letter 79 [451]

Addressed to the empress Pulcheria.

Reduxistis, sive quod reliquias sanctae memoriae Flaviani innocentis et catholici sacerdotis ad Ecclesiam cui bene praefuit fecistis cum honore debito revocari. In quibus utique omnibus gloriae vestrae multiplicatur augmentum, dum et sanctos pro suis meritis veneramini, et ab agro Dominico spinas et tribulos vultis auferri.

‘You have procured the restoration with due honour of the remains of that innocent and holy priest, Flavianus, of holy memory, to the church, which he ruled so well. In all which things assuredly your glory is increased manifold, so long as you venerate the saints according to their deserts, and are anxious that the thorns and weeds should be removed from the Lord's field.’

Leo continues by exhorting Pulcheria to act against heresy.

Leo the Great, Letter 83 [451]

Addressed to the emperor Marcian. Again Leo refers to the translation of Flavian's remains to Constantinople. In the same breath, he asks for Marcian’s support and that he act against Eutyches.

Text: Patrologia Latina 54. Translation: Lett Feltoe 1895.
Summary: Frances Trzeciak.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Flavian, Bishop of Constantinople, ob. 449 : S02069

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Letters



Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Leo the Great (pope)

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops Monarchs and their family

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body Transfer, translation and deposition of relics


Two letters from Leo the Great addressed to the eastern imperial couple, Pulcheria and Marcian, composed in 451. Transmitted as part of Leo the Great's letter collection.


For several years, Leo was a vociferous opponent of Eutyches – an advocate of the docetist theory that the body of Christ was not made of human flesh. He supported another of Eutyches’ opponents - Flavian, the bishop of Constantinople – who was deposed at the second council of Ephesus in 449. Flavian died shortly afterwards. In 451, the mood changed against Eutyches. Flavian's body was honoured in Constantinople and interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles. Throughout the previous two years, Leo had petitioned the imperial family to organise a synod to overturn the decisions of Ephesus. This synod was held at Chalcedon in 451, and is the synod referred to in this letter Throughout several other letters, for example Letters 79, 82, and 88, Leo refers to Flavian as a bishop of holy memory and frames him as a persecuted and saintly hero. Leo was a strong opponent of Eutyches and supporter of Flavian.


Text: Leo the Great, Epistolae, Patrologia Latina 54. Translation: Lett Feltoe, C., Leo the Great. Gregory the Great (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 12; New York, 1895). Further Reading: Demacopoulos, G.E., The Invention of Peter: Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity (Philadelphia, 2013). Price, Richard, and Whitby, Mary (eds.), Chalcedon in Context: Church Councils 400-700 (Liverpool, 2009). Salzman, M.R., "Leo’s Liturgical Topography: Contestations for Space in Fifth-Century Rome," Journal for Roman Studies 103 (2013), 208-232. Thacker, A., "Patrons of Rome: The cult of Sts Peter and Paul at court and in the city in the fourth and fifth centuries," Early Medieval Europe 20:4 (2012), 380-406. Wessel, S., Leo the Great and the Spiritual Rebuilding of Rome (Leiden, 2008).

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