1 Natali, lit. birthday; but the early Church gave this beautiful name to, and kept the memory of Saints on, the day of their death. (cf. below, in die martyrii eorum) in all cases except that of S. John the Baptist (from the importance of his natural birthday in connexion with the LORD's Nativity). The Conversion of S. Paul is a later exception.
2 It is of course well known that this is very debatable ground, and as such, it is wiser to leave it untouched in a work which is only intended as a means of of rendering English-speaking people aquainted with Leo's views and statements. It will be noticed however, that the historically verified connexion of S. Paul with Rome is as nothing in his eyes in comparison with the very apocryphal connexion of S. Peter: cf. below, per sacram beati Petri sedem, on which the Ballerinii very appropriately quote Prosper de Ingratis: - Sedes Roma Petri, quoe pastoralis honore facta caput mundo, quidquid non possidet armis religione tenet.The Roman Calendar still retains the double commemoration of June 29.
8 Electio pares (fecit) omitted by the oldest Vatican ms. but undoubtedly genuine, the allusion being obviously to S. Paul's claim to equal apostleship with the Twelve more than once advanced (e.g. 2 Cor. xi. 5, &c.). This then is an interesting passage when read side by side with Leo's Petrine claims, but does not really contradict them, though the lauguage here used, esp. the figure of the two eyes, is strong.
1 There is some doubt as to the exact occasion of this sermon. It seems to have been connected with the yearly commemoration (not the first or second from the language Leo uses), of that 14 days' pillage of Rome by Genseric (in 455) and of the city's subsequent liberaton, in which Leo took so important a part. But the date ascribed to the sermon's delivery (the octave of SS. Peter and Paul, i.e. July 6) does not tally well with its allusions to the ludi circenses as counter-attractions to the recent Church functions. A reference to Serm. IX. n. 6, will remind the reader that it was the ludi Apollinares that, at least in the past, were associated with that date: perhaps Leo's phrase ludus Circensium is only a general description and would include the Apollinarian games as being still held in Circo as well as others. The ludi Circenses themselves were held Sept. 4-12.
1 S. Laurence was the chief Deacon in the time of Sextus II., and was martyred in the persecution of Valerian, 258, in the way detailed by Leo in this Sermon. His was a very favourite festival in the Middle Ages both in the East and West.
3 It will be remembered that "the serving of tables" was from the first institution of the office one of the principal duties of the deacon (levita), see Acts vi. 1-6. This side of the office has latterly fallen into abeyance and is but slightly recognized in the English Ordinal.