The Golden Legend or Lives Of The Saints

Compiled by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, 1275

Englished by William Caxton, First Edition 1483

From the Temple Classics Edited by F.S. Ellis

Also available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format


The Miracle of the Hand

Leo the pope, as it is read in the miracles of our blessed Lady, in the church of St. Mary the More, as he sang there mass, and much people by order were communed and houseled, and a matron, a certain woman, kissed his hand, whereof he was tempted vehemently in his flesh. And this holy man was a great wreaker and avenger on himself, and cut off his hand that same day privily, and threw it from him.

Afterward the people murmured among them because the pope sang no mass, and did not divine service solemnly as he was wont to do. Then Leo turned him unto the Blessed Virgin, our Lady, and committed himself wholly to her providence.

Then she anon appeared to him and restored to him his hand and reformed it with her holy hands, commanding that he should go forth and offer sacrifice unto her son. Then this holy man Leo preached unto all the people that came thither, and showed evidently how his hand was restored to him again.

The Council of Chalcedon

This Leo the pope held the council at Chalcedon, and ordained virgins to be veiled. It was also made there a statute that the Virgin Mary should be called the mother of God.

Pope Leo and Attila

That same time Attila destroyed Italy. Then Leo waking, prayed in the church of the apostles three days and three nights, and after said to his men: Who that will follow me, let him follow. When then he approached to Attila, anon as he saw St. Leo he descended from his horse, and fell down plats to his feet, and prayed him that he should ask what he would. And he desired that he should go out of Italy and release the Christian people that he had in captivity.

And his servants reproved him that the triumphing prince of the world should be overcome of a priest. He answered: I have provided for myself and to you. I saw on his right side a knight standing with a sword drawn and saying to me: But if thou spare this man thou shalt be slain, and all thy men.

His Epistle to Fabian

Then St. Leo wrote an epistle to Fabian, bishop of Constantinople, against Eutichius and Nestorius, which he laid upon the sepulchre of St. Peter, and was in continual fastings and prayers, saying: O holy Peter, what that I have erred in this epistle as man, thou to whom the cure of the Church is committed, correct and amend.

And after forty days Peter appeared to him praying, and said: I have read it and amended it. Then Leo took the epistle, and found it corrected and amended with the hands of the apostle.

Other forty days also he was continually in fastings and prayers at the sepulchre of St. Peter, beseeching to get him forgiveness of his sins. To whom Peter appeared and said: I have prayed our Lord for thee, and he hath forgiven thee all thy sins, save only of the imposition of thy hand [i.e. in ordination of priests] thou shalt be examined.

He died about the year of our Lord four hundred and sixty

The iconography of St. Leo is available at the Christian iconography website.

For other saints, see the index to this Golden Legend website.

Scanned by Robert Blackmon.

This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

E-text Paul Halsall, September 2000

Reformatted with paragraphs, rubrics, italics, and explanatory insertions by Richard Stracke,