Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1705
In his letter to the Emperor Theodosius II Pope Leo the Great refers to the appointment of Anatolius for the bishopric of Constantinople. He mentions his legates to Constantinople, Bishops Abundius and Asterius and the Presbyters Basilius and Senator. Letter 69 of Pope Leo the Great "Lectis dilectionis", written in Rome, AD 450.
Letter 69
Leo informs the Emperor that he would not accept the appointment of Anatolius for the see of Constantinople until
Anatolius makes the open confession of the faith as defined at the councils in Nicea (AD 325) and Ephesus (AD 431), the letter of Cyril of Alexandria and the Tome to Flavian.
2. Quia vero et nos et beati Patres nostri, quorum doctrinam et veneramur et sequimur, in unius fidei concordia sumus, sicut provinciarum omnium protestantur antistites, agat clementiae vestrae devotissima fides, ut quam primum ad nos Constantinopolitani episcopi, qualia debent, probati et catholici sacerdotis scripta perveniant, aperte scilicet atque dilucide protestantia quod si quis de incarnatione Verbi Dei aliud aliquid credat aut asserat, quam catholicorum omnium et mea professio protestatur, hunc a sua communione secernat, ut ei fraternam in Christo charitatem merito possimus impendere. Ut autem salubribus curis velocior pleniorque, auxiliante Domino per vestrae clementiae fidem praestetur effectus, ad pietatem vestram fratres et coepiscopos meos, Abundium et Asterium, sed et Basilium et Senatorem, presbyteros, quorum mihi devotio est probata, direxi, per quos, quae nostrae forma sit fidei, manifestatis instructionibus quas misimus possitis dignanter agnoscere: ut si Constantinopolitanus antistes in eamdem confessionem toto corde consentit, securi, ut dignum est, de ecclesiastica (0892B) pace laetemur, neque aliquid residere videatur ambiguum, unde superfluis forsitan suspicionibus laboremus. Sin vero aliqui a puritate nostrae fidei atque Patrum auctoritate dissentiunt, concilium universale intra Italiam, sicut synodus quae ob hanc causam Romae convenerat, mecum petiit, clementia vestra concedat: ut in unum convenientibus omnibus his qui aut ignorantia aut terrore prolapsi sunt, correctionis remediis consulatur, nec cuiquam ultra sit liberum ita Nicaenae synodi facere mentionem, ut eius inveniatur esse fidei contrarius: quoniam et universae Ecclesiae et vestro hoc imperio profuturum est, si unus Deus, una fides et unum sacramentum salutis humanae, una totius mundi confessione teneatur. Data decimo septimo kalendas Augusti, Valentiniano septies et Avieno v. c. consulibus.
(Patrologia Latina 54, 891-892 = Ballerini 1753: 1005-1008)
Letter 69
Leo informs the Emperor that he would not accept the appointment of Anatolius for the see of Constantinople until
Anatolius makes the open confession of the faith as defined at the councils in Nicea (AD 325) and Ephesus (AD 431), the letter of Cyril of Alexandria and the Tome to Flavian.
2. But because both we and our blessed fathers, whose teaching we revere and follow, are in concord on the one Faith, as the bishops of all the provinces attest, let your clemency's most devout faith see to it that such a document as is due may reach us as soon as may be from the bishop of Constantinople, as from an approved and catholic priest, that is, openly and distinctly affirming that he will separate from his communion any one who believes or maintains any other view about the Incarnation of the Word of God than my statement and that of all catholics lays down, that we may fairly be able to bestow on him brotherly love in Christ.  And that swifter and fuller effect, God aiding us, may be given through your clemency's faith to our wholesome desires, I have sent to your piety my brethren and fellow-bishops Abundius and Asterius, together with Basilius and Senator presbyters, whose devotion is well proved to me, through whom, when they have displayed the instructions which we have sent, you may be able properly to apprehend what is the standard of our faith, so that, if the bishop of Constantinople gives his hearty assent to the same confession, we may securely, as is due, rejoice over the peace of the Church and no ambiguity may seem to lurk behind which may trouble us with perhaps ungrounded suspicions. But if any dissent from the purity of our Faith and from the authority of the Fathers, the Synod which has met at Rome for that purpose joins with me in asking your clemency to permit a universal council within the limits of Italy; so that, if all those come together in one place who have fallen either through ignorance or through fear, measures may be taken to correct and cure them, and no one any longer may be allowed to quote the Synod of Nicæa in a way which shall prove him opposed to its Faith; since it will be of advantage both to the whole Church and to your rule, if one God, one Faith and one mystery of man’s Salvation, be held by the one confession of the whole world. Dated on the 17th day before the Kalends of August in the consulship of the illustrious Valentinianus for the seventh time and Avienus [= 17 July AD 450].
(trans. Ch. Lett Feltoe 1895: 63-64; slightly adapted)


We know that the Presbyter Basilius belonged to the clergy of Naples from the fragmentary acts of the synod that took place in Constantinople in 450 (see PCBE, Italie, v. 1, Basilius 5). Senator, for his part, was most probably the presbyter of Milan - Bishop Eusebius of Milan (Letter 97 in the collection of the letters of Leo) calls Senator his "compresbyter" [...].

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Gaul
  • Rome
  • Arles

About the source:

Author: Leo the Great
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Rome (Rome)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Leo the Great was the bishop of Rome from AD 440 to his death in AD 461. We have the collection of 173 letters of Leo.
Anatolius succeeded in the see of Constantinople Flavianus, deposed by the Second Council of Ephesus in AD 449. Leo the Great considered the decisions of the council void, but after the death of Flavianus in AD 449, he informed the Emperor that he could accept Anatolius as the Bishop of Constantinople if he confesses the faith as defined by the councils of Nicea and Ephesus I, the letter of Cyril of Alexandria and the Tome to Flavianus. Anatolius complied to that, and in AD 451 he presided over the Council of Chalcedon. He died in AD 458. See Wessel 2008: 42-43.
P. and G. Ballerini eds., Sancti Leoni Magni Romani pontificis opera, vol. 1, Venice 1753
Patrologia Latina, vol. 54
S. Wessel, Leo the Great and the spiritual rebuilding of a universal Rome, Leiden ; Boston 2008.


Travel and change of residence
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Ecclesiastical administration - Ecclesiastical envoy
Relation with - Another presbyter
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Monarch and royal/imperial family
Relation with - Secular authority
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1705,