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E01678: The short Life of *Leo II (bishop of Rome, ob. 683, S00875) in the Liber Pontificalis, written in Latin in Rome soon after his death, records his building of a church of *Paul (the Apostle, S00008), close to the church of *Bibiana (martyr of Rome under the emperor Julian, S00728); his translation there of the bodies of the martyrs *Simplicius, Faustinus, and Beatrix (martyrs of Rome, S00886); and his burial at the church of *Peter (the Apostle, S00036) on 3 July. Some manuscripts also attribute to Leo II the building of the church of *Sebastianus (martyr of Rome, S00400) and *George (soldier and martyr, S00259) at the Velabro.

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posted on 2016-06-29, 00:00 authored by robert
Liber Pontificalis 82

Leo iunior, natione Sicula, de patre Paulo, sedit mens. X dies XVII. Vir eloquentissimus, in divinis scripturis sufficienter instructus, greca latinaque lingua eruditus, cantelena ac psalmodia praecipuus et in earum sensibus subtilissima exercitatione limatus; lingua quoque scolasticus et eloquendi maiore lectione politam, exortator omnium bonorum operum plebique florentissime ingerebat scientiam, paupertatis amator et erga inopem provisione non solum mentis pietate, sed et studii sui labore sollicitus.

'Leo the younger, born in Sicily, son of Paulus, held the see 10 months 17 days. He was a man of great eloquence, competently versed in holy scripture, proficient in Greek and Latin, and distinguished for his chanting and psalmody, which he interpreted elegantly and with the most sensitive and subtle touches. In speech too he was a man of education and refined in his choice of the lofty style. He gave encouragement to all good works and inspired a great flowering of knowledge among the people. He loved the poor, and was concerned to look after the destitute not merely with dutiful attention but through his own hard work and toil.'


Hic fecit ecclesiam in urbe Roma iuxta sancta Viviana, ubi et corpora sanctorum Simplici, Faustini, Beatricis atque aliorum martyrum recondidit, et ad nomen beati Pauli apostoli dedicavit sub die XXII mens. Februar., ubi et dona obtulit.

'He built a church in Rome close to saint Bibiana’s, where he deposited the bodies of saints Simplicius, Faustinus, Beatrix, and other martyrs, and dedicated it in the name of the blessed Paul the apostle on 22nd day of February; and
there he presented gifts. '


Qui etiam sepultus est ad beatum Petrum apostolum sub die V non. Iul.

'He was buried at the blessed Peter the apostle on 3 July.'

Text: Duchesne 1886, 359-360. Translation: Davis 2010, 76-77, lightly modified.

The passage in brackets, <>, is an interpolation, recorded in only some manuscripts of the Liber Pontificalis; it is uncertain when it was added to the text.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Leo II, bishop of Rome, ob. 683 : S00875 Paul, the Apostle : S00008 Peter the Apostle : S00036 Bibiana, martyr in Rome, ob. ??? : S00728 Simplicius, Faustinus and Beatrix, martyrs in Rome : S00886 George, martyr in Nicomedia or Diospolis, ob. c.

Saint Name in Source

Leo Paulus Petrus Bibiana Simplicius, Faustinus, Beatrix Georgius Sebastianus

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Rome and region

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Rome Rome Rome Roma Ῥώμη Rhōmē

Major author/Major anonymous work

Liber Pontificalis

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - independent (church)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Bequests, donations, gifts and offerings

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Ecclesiastics - bishops

Cult Activities - Relics

Bodily relic - entire body


The Liber Pontificalis consists of a series of very short lives of popes. The preface attributes it to pope Damasus (366-384), but this attribution is obviously false. According to Louis Duchesne, the first modern editor of the Liber Pontificalis, the original series of lives was written in Rome by an anonymous author, probably a member of the lesser clergy, in the 530s, and contained the lives from *Peter the Apostle to Felix IV (ob. 530). Shortly after, before 546, the text was re-edited by another anonymous author and only this edition survives. The first edition, however, can be reconstituted on the basis of its two epitomes (and the second edition). The second edition started to be continued systematically from the time of pope Honorius (625–638). It should be noted that Theodor Mommsen dated both editions of the Liber Pontificalis to the 7th century, but his opinion is widely rejected and the commonly accepted dating is that of Duchesne. For the pre-Constantinian period (before 312), the credibility of the Liber Pontificalis is very low. The chronology is confused, and details concerning the personal lives, decisions and ordinations of the bishops of Rome at best reflect what people in the 6th century trusted to be true, at worst are a pure invention of the author. The situation changes with the later lives. Already the information of 4th-century papal foundations and offerings are generally trustworthy. The early 6th-century evidence, based on the author's first hand knowledge is even better, though still imperfect.


The relics of Simplicius, Faustinus, Beatrix were transferred into Rome from their original burial place on the via Portuensis outside the city. The adjacent churches of St Bibiana and St Paul were located close to the modern railway station Roma Termini.


Edition: Duchesne, L., Le Liber pontificalis. 2 vols (Paris: E. Thorin, 1886-1892) (with substantial introduction and commentary). Translation: Davis, R., The Book of Pontiffs (Liber Pontificalis) (Translated Texts for Historians 6; 3rd ed.; Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010). Further reading: Krautheimer, R., Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae: The early Christian Basilicas of Rome (IV–IX Centuries), Vatican City 1937–1977 Brandenburg, H., Ancient churches of Rome from the fourth to the seventh century: the dawn of Christian architecture in the West, Turnhout 2005. Maskarinec, M., City of Saints: Rebuilding Rome in the early Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).

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    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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