1) (c. 680–741)
   Leo III was elected Byzantine Emperor in 717. He is remembered for defeating the Arabs and for initiating the Iconoclastic Controversy. He believed that the use of icons hindered the conversion of Jews and Muslims to Christianity and in 726 he issued an edict ordering the destruction of all images. When the Patriarch germanus appealed to the Pope, he was deposed; John of damascus wrote strongly against the edict and Pope Gregory III condemned Leo’s actions. None the less the policy was continued by Leo’s son Constantine V.
   J.N.D. Kelly (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (1986);
   D.J. Sahas, Icon and Logos (1986).
   2) (d. 816)
   Pope and Saint.
   Leo was elected Pope in 795, but was compelled to put himself under the protection of charlemagne after he was attacked by his predecessor’s relations. Charlemagne escorted him back to Rome where Leo crowned him Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day 800. Although he accepted that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and the Son, he discouraged the use of the ‘filioque’ formula, in order to keep peace with the Eastern Church. He acted firmly against adherents of the Adoptionist heresy and he is remembered as a beautifier of churches. He was canonised in 1673.
   J.N.D. Kelly (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Popes (1986);
   L. Wallach, ‘The Roman Synod of December 800 and the alleged trial of Leo III’, Harvard Theological Review, xlix (1956).

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