In the town of Catania below the volcanic Mount Ezra, lived our venerable father Leo, a good shepherd and compassionate teacher of the people. He had great concern for the sick and the poor. His zeal for the Faith was as great as his charity toward the less fortunate. A magician named Heliodorus appeared in Catania and deluded the people with various illusions, greatly demoralizing the youth of the town. At one time during divine services, Heliodorus entered the church of God and began his obscenities. St. Leo approached him, tied him to one end of his pallium, and led him to the marketplace. Here Leo ordered that a large fire be built. When it was raging, Leo stood in the middle of the blaze and pulled Heliodorus into the fire. Heliodorus was completely consumed, but Leo remained alive and unscathed. All who had been bewitched by Heliodorus and who had looked upon him as someone divine, were ashamed. The compassionate and zealous Leo was proclaimed throughout the entire kingdom as a great miracle-worker, who helped men by his shining miracles. St. Leo fell asleep in the Lord around the year 787, and from his relics flowed a healing myrrh.
The sincerity of your deeds has revealed you to your people, as a teacher of moderation, a model of faith, and an example of virtue. Therefore, you attend greatness through humility, and wealth through poverty. O father and bishop Leo, ask Christ our God to save our souls.
The Church sees you as a brilliant light in the heavens, shining more radiantly than the sun. Preserve her unconquered and indestructible to heresy, and keep her ever spotless, O blessed saint, for we honor your memory at all times.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth– and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters–
Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” Evening came, and morning followed– the first day.
Then God said: Let there be a dome in the middle of the waters, to separate one body from the other. God made the dome, and it separated the water below the dome from the water above the dome. And so it happened. God called the dome “sky.” Evening came, and morning followed– the second day.
Then God said: Let the water under the sky be gathered into a single basin, so that the dry land may appear. And so it happened: the water under the sky was gathered into its basin, and the dry land appeared. God called the dry land “earth,” and the basin of water he called “sea.” God saw that it was good. Then God said: Let the earth bring forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree on earth that bears fruit with its seeds in it. And so it happened: the earth brought forth vegetation: every kind of plant that bears seed and every kind of fruit tree that bears fruit with its seeds in it. God saw that it was good. Evening came, and morning followed– the third day.
The proverbs of Solomon, the Son of David, king of Israel:
That people may know wisdom and discipline, may understand intelligent sayings;
May receive instruction in wise conduct, in what is right, just, and fair;
That resourcefulness may be imparted to the naive; knowledge and discretion to the young.
The wise by hearing them will advance in learning, the intelligent will gain sound guidance,
To comprehend proverb and byword, the words of the wise and their riddles.
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and reject not your mother’s teaching;
A graceful diadem will they be for your head; a pendant for your neck.
My son, should sinners entice you,
Do not go if they say, “Come along with us! Let us lie in wait for blood, unprovoked, let us trap the innocent;
Let us swallow them alive, like Sheol, whole, like those who do down to the pit!
All kinds of precious wealth shall we gain, we shall fill our houses with booty;
Cast in your lot with us, we shall have one purse!”
My son, do not walk in the way with them, hold back your foot from their path!
For their feet run to evil, they hasten to shed blood.
In vain a net is spread right under the eyes of any bird –
They lie in wait for their own blood, they set a trap for their own lives.
This is the way of everyone greedy for loot: it takes away their lives.
Wisdom cries out in the street; in the open squares she raises her voice.
Icon courtesy of Jack Figel, Eastern Christian Publications – ecpubs.com
Sunday, February 19 –