Monday, May 25, 2009

The Life of St Leander of Seville by Isidore of Seville (De Viris Illustribus 61)

St Leander of Seville was born in 534 and died in 600.

St Leander of Seville

This post is a translation of the life of St Leander of Seville by his brother and successor to the bishopric of Seville, Isidore. I decided to translate and post this particular text to prepare the next post, which is homily delivered by Leander of Seville at the Third Council of Toledo (more about that in the next post). 
The original Latin text is from the Patrologia Latina.

De Viris Illustribus, Caput XLI

57. Leander was born to Severianus, his father, of the province of Carthage. He was a  monk by profession and from a the monastic [profession], was established bishop of the Church of Seville of the province of Baethica. He was a pleasant man in speech, surpassing all in character, most famous in life and also in doctrine, so that the Gothic people were returned to the Catholic faith from the Arian folly[1] by his faith and his work.[2] In fact, during the travel of his exile, he composed two books against the doctrines of the heretics; they were richly adorned with the erudition of the Holy Scriptures, and in them he pierced with a vigorous pen the impieties of the Arian [faith], and he, pointing out (one might know) the thing which the Catholic Church might have against them, [and] how different it stood either from that religion or from faith in the sacraments, laid bare its perverseness.

 58. And there stood out another laudable trifle of his against the customs of the Arians, in which, after he set forth his positions, opposed their replies. In addition, he published one small book, for his sister Florentina about the Institution of Virgins and the contempt of the world, a book marked with distinctions of titles. And the very same man accordingly worked in the offices of the church not with small zeal; indeed, in the whole psaltery, he wrote down orations in a two faced edition; likewise in the sacrifice, he composed many [songs] of sweet sound for psalms and praises.

 59. He even wrote many letters: one to the pope about baptism, another to his brother, in which, he forewarned everybody that death should not be feared. Also he published many intimate letters to the rest of the bishops, and if [they were not] splendid in words, they were nevertheless wise in thought. He flourished under Reccared, a religious man, as well as a glorious ruler, in whose marvelous time Leander finished the end of his life in death.

About the next post: 

The  next post will be the translation of the homily by St Leander of Seville that closes the Third Council of Toledo (589). In the post, I will discuss the significance of the council. This next post will close (temporarily) the chapter on Spain and we will move to a discussion on 'ethnogenesis', that is, the study of identity through text. 

[1] The word used is insania and is fairly commonly used by Nicene Christians when describing the Arian controversy.

[2] The portion really reads: et fide ejus atque industria- the prepositions et, atque have emphatic meanings. That is, Isidore holds Leander solely responsible for the conversion of the Goths.


Registrar said...

This post was helpful since I am doing some research on Isidore. Would you be willing to help me with some Latin for my research?

Laurent Cases said...

Sorry for the delay in responding. I didn't see the comment until today. Of course. What do you need?

Laurent Cases said...

Sorry for the delay in responding. I didn't see the comment until today. Of course. What do you need?