Chapter 88 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton, 1483. This "reader's version" of the text provides section headings, paragraph breaks, and explanatory notes.

The Miracle of the Hand

Leo the pope, as it is read in the miracles of our blessed Lady,1 in the church of St. Mary the More, Santa Maria Maggiore, in Rome as he sang there mass, and much people by order were communed and houseled, given Communion and a matron, a certain woman, kissed his hand, whereof he was tempted vehemently in his flesh. And this holy man was a great wreaker avenger and avenger on himself, and cut off his hand that same day privily, privately and threw it from him.

Afterward the people murmured among them because the pope sang no mass, and did not divine service solemnly as he was wont to do. Then Leo turned him unto the Blessed Virgin, our Lady, and committed himself wholly to her providence.

Then she anon appeared to him and restored to him his hand and reformed it with her holy hands, commanding that he should go forth and offer sacrifice unto her son. Then this holy man Leo preached unto all the people that came thither, and showed evidently how his hand was restored to him again.

The Council of Chalcedon

This Leo the pope held the council at Chalcedon, and ordained virgins to be veiled. It was also made there a statute that the Virgin Mary should be called the mother of God.

Pope Leo and Attila

That same time Attila destroyed Italy. Then Leo waking, kept a vigil, stayed awake prayed in the church of the apostles2 three days and three nights, and after said to his men: Who that will follow me, let him follow. When then he approached to Attila, anon as as soon as he saw St. Leo he descended from his horse, and fell down plats prostrated himself to his feet, and prayed him that he should ask what he would. whatever he desired And he desired that he should go out of Italy and release the Christian people that he had in captivity.
Raphael's Leo the Great and Attila (1514) pictures Attila falling from his horse when threatened not by a "knight" with a sword but by St. Peter and St. Paul. Follow this link for a larger view of the fresco. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)
And his servants reproved him that the triumphing prince of the world should be overcome of by a priest. He answered: I have provided for myself and to you. I saw on his right side a knight standing with a sword drawn and saying to me: But if unless thou spare this man thou shalt be slain, and all thy men.

His Epistle to Fabian

Then St. Leo wrote an epistle to Fabian, bishop of Constantinople, against Eutichius and Nestorius, which he laid upon the sepulchre of St. Peter, and was in continual fastings and prayers, saying: O holy Peter, what that I have erred in this epistle as man, thou to whom the cure of the Church is committed, correct and amend.

And after forty days Peter appeared to him praying, and said: I have read it and amended it. Then Leo took the epistle, and found it corrected and amended with the hands of the apostle.

Other forty days also he was continually in fastings and prayers at the sepulchre of St. Peter, beseeching to get him forgiveness of his sins. To whom Peter appeared and said: I have prayed our Lord for thee, and he hath forgiven thee all thy sins, save only of the imposition of thy hand [i.e. in ordination of priests] thou shalt be examined.

He died about the year of our Lord four hundred and sixty

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Pope St. Leo is customarily pictured wearing the triple tiara of the papacy and holding a book and a cross with three horizontals. (Source: Wikimedia Commons.)

This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. E-text © by Paul Halsall. Annotations, formatting, and added rubrics by Richard Stracke. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the sources. No permission is granted for commercial use.

1 William of Malmesbury, Miracles of the Virgin Mary. Ed. R. M. Thomson and M. Winterbottom. Rochester, N.Y. and Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Medieval Texts, 2015.

2 Pope Leo's meeting with Attila occurred in 452, 47 years earlier than the first known reference to the Church of the Holy Apostles. Either the Golden Legend errs in naming the church or the church went for half a century without being mentioned in any papal documents. In 1348, twelve years before Voragine composed the Legend, the church was ruined by an earthquake. It was not restored until 1417.