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How True is the Legend of Saint Leo meeting Attila the Hun?


OC.Net Guru
Sep 29, 2016
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United States
As we know, sometimes traditions in churches can turn out to be false or inaccurate - for example, in the West, the Donation of Constantine, the story of Mary Magdalene being the prostitute, and in both East and West, potentially Saints Barlaam and Josaphat.

And this is a story from tradition that I've heard of before - that apparently Attila the Hun met with Saint Leo, when he was about to invade Rome, but after a discussion with Saint Leo, Attila decided to spare Rome and turn back.

This story just seems kind of jarring to me, for a couple of reasons. I don't think Attila even bordered the Mediterranean of Italy at the height of his empire, and how exactly would diplomacy like that be set up? The ruler of Rome at that time decides that the best solution is to bring the Pope to say something to a brutal Pagan? And after setting up armies in Italy, why wouldn't they at least conquer the southern or northern portion of Italy considering that they've already made the effort to cross into Italy?

It just seems like a fable to me based on my current knowledge.