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10 Dates in Church
452 AD:
Pope St. Leo Repulses
The Huns
Historical Background
► The
Western Roman Empire was in turmoil:
► Bad economy: inflation and high cost of welfare.,
high cost of maintaining the empire.
► Political rivalry and barbarism, corruption from
► Pagan practices and immorality still practiced even
amongst so-called Christians
► An unstable military, especially along the frontier
Attila and the Huns
► They
were barbarians from Mongolia, astute on
horseback and the bow; fearless and ruthless
battle tactics.
► 435 AD, Attila rises to power that began his
westward conquest of Europe.
► As Europe fell, Attila became feared as the
“Scourge of God.”
► 452 AD, Attila invades the peninsula of Italy and
demands that Rome pay tribute in exchange for
Pope St. Leo and Attila
► Roman
Emperor Valentinian fled and asked for
Pope Leo’s prayers and divine intervention.
► As Attila approached Rome, Pope Leo and other
Roman officials met with Attila. Legend has it that
Attila had a vision…
► Attila may also have decided to spare Rome and
Italy perhaps because Pope Leo left a good
impression, or maybe other reasons…
► Attila dies in 453 AD from alcoholism. Without
their leader, the Hun army dissipates.
What This Means in Church History
Once Emperor Valentinian left, Rome was left to the
authority of the papacy, which in turn became the
‘government’ in the absence of the emperor.
The Pope must have prayed earnestly for divine
intercession because it was believed that the invaders were
God’s punishment for the immorality of the Romans.
Attila could have easily conquered Rome but for reasons
not fully known, decided to spare her. He met his untimely
death one year later.
It was through the leadership of the papacy and divine
intervention that Christian Europe will be molded.