The Deserving Diplomatic Defender

By defending against invaders, challenging heresies, and leading his flock as the Bishop of Rome, my patron saint, Leo, rightly deserves the honor of being the first Pope to be called, “The Great.”

Orthodox icon of Saint Leo.

Leo was born in Tuscany, Italy, part of the Western Roman Empire, around 400 AD. By 431, he had been tonsured as a deacon in Rome and his zealousness for the Church was known outside the city. About the same time, Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III sent Leo to settle a dispute between Aetius, a military commander of Roman forces in Gaul, and Albinus, a consul. 

While in Gaul in 440, Pope Sixtus III died and Leo was elected to succeed him. During his reign, Leo defended against Dioscorus of Alexandria and Eutyches who believed in the Monophysite heresy that Christ was fully divine, but not fully man. In 451, the Great Bishop called the Fourth Ecumenical Council at Chalcedon to condemn the heretics. The council concluded with the anathematization and excommunication of the heretical Dioscorus, Bishop of Alexandria, and the monk Eutyches. The next year, Leo persuaded Attila the Hun and his army to refrain from attacking the ancient city of Rome. In 455, Gaiseric, leader of the Vandal tribe, agreed to Leo’s requests not to kill civilians or raze the city. While Gaiseric kept mostly to the agreement, he did take some citizens as slaves during the sack. In addition to these diplomatic feats, Leo also wrote 96 sermons and 143 letters, of which the best known is his “Epistle to Saint Flavin.” 

The meeting between Pope Leo and Attila the Hun.

Leo reposed in peace in 461 after serving his flock for 21 years. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican Churches, with his Orthodox Feast Day being celebrated on February 18. 

Without the guidance of Saint Leo, the Huns and Vandals could have destroyed the entire city of Rome and the Monophysite heresy could have continued to corrupt the Church for many years. Pope Leo was a truly deserving diplomatic defender of the Christian faith. As he said, “Virtue is nothing without temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife.”

American States and Canadian Provinces Part 3

Alberta (Canada) 

Alberta flag

Capital: Edmonton 

Largest city: Calgary 

Population: 4 Million 

Size: 255,541 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: September 1, 1905 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Mount Columbia 12,293 feet tall 

Edmonton city hall in Edmonton, Alberta

British Columbia (Canada) 

British Columbia flag

Capital: Victoria 

Largest city: Vancouver 

Population: 4.6 Million 

Size: 364,764 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 20, 1871 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Mount Waddington 13,186 feet tall 

Hunlen Falls in Tweedsmuir Park, British Columbia

Manitoba (Canada) 

Manitoba flag

Capital: Winnipeg (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Brandon 

Population: 1.2 Million 

Size: 250,950 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 15, 1870 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Baldy Mountain 2,730 feet tall 

Ancient Inukshuk stone landmark erected by the Inuit people in Churchill, Manitoba

New Brunswick (Canada) 

New Brunswick flag

Capital: Fredericton 

Largest city: Moncton 

Population: 782,078 

Size: 28,150 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 1, 1867 

Main languages: English and French 

Tallest point: Mount Carleton 2,680 feet tall 

Cape Enrage Lighthouse in Albert County, New Brunswick

Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada) 

Newfoundland and Labrador flag

Capital: St. John’s (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Conception Bay South 

Population: 519,716 

Size: 156,650 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: March 31, 1949 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Mount Caubvick (Mont D’Iberville) 5,420 feet tall 

Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Northwest Territories (Canada) 

Northwest Territories flag

Capital: Yellowknife (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Hay River 

Population: 41,786 

Size: 519,734 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 15, 1870 

Main languages: English, French, Chipewyan, Cree, and Gwich’in 

Tallest point: Keele Peak 9,751 feet tall 

Tukoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia (Canada) 

Nova Scotia flag

Capital: Halifax (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Cape Breton 

Population: 923,598 

Size: 21,345 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 1, 1867 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: White Hill 1,755 feet tall 

Old Town Clock in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Nunavut (Canada) 

Nunavut flag

Capital: Iqaluit (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Rankin Inlet 

Population: 39,407 

Size: 787,155 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: April 1, 1999 

Main languages: Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, English, and French 

Tallest point: Barbeau Peak 8,583 feet tall 

St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit, Nunavut

Ontario (Canada) 

Ontario flag

Capital: Toronto (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Ottawa 

Population: 13.4 Million 

Size: 415,598 sq. miles

Date joined confederation: July 1, 1867 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Ishpatina Ridge 2,274 feet tall 

Skyline of Toronto, Ontario with CN Tower

Prince Edward Island (Canada) 

Prince Edward Island flag

Capital: Charlottetown (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Summerside 

Population: 142,907 

Size: 2,190 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 1, 1873 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Unnamed location 466 feet tall 

Woods Island lighthouse in Wood Island, Prince Edward Island

Quebec (Canada) 

Quebec flag

Capital: Quebec City 

Largest city: Montreal 

Population: 8.1 Million 

Size: 595,391 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: July 1, 1867 

Main languages: French 

Tallest point: Mont D’Iberville (Mount Caubvick) 5,420 feet tall 

Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, Quebec

Saskatchewan (Canada) 

Saskatchewan flag

Capital: Regina 

Largest city: Saskatoon 

Population: 1 Million 

Size: 251,700 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: September 1, 1905 

Main languages: English 

Tallest point: Unnamed Location 4,567 feet tall 

Sunflower field, Saskatchewan

Yukon (Canada) 

Yukon flag

Capital: Whitehorse (and largest city) 

2nd largest city: Dawson 

Population: 35,874 

Size: 186,272 sq. miles 

Date joined confederation: June 13, 1898 

Main languages: English and French 

Tallest point: Mount Logan 19,551 feet tall 

Lake Laberge, Yukon

Modern Countries Part 7

Portugal (Europe)

Portugal flag

Capital: Lisbon

Population: 10.2 Million

Size: 35,603 sq. miles

Currency: Euro

Tallest point: Serra de Estrela 6,539 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 84.3%

Main languages: Portugese and Mirandese

About: On December 1, 1640, John IV of Portugal declared his country’s independence from Spain.

Belem Tower in Lisbon, Portugal

Qatar (Asia)

Qatar flag

Capital: Doha

Population: 2.7 Million

Size: 4,471 sq. miles

Currency: Qatari riyal

Tallest point: Qurayn Abu al Bawl 338 feet tall

Main religion: Islam 67.7%

Main languages: Arabic and English

About: On September 1, 1971, Qatar declared its independence from the British Empire. 

Dallah Qatar monument in Doha, Qatar

Romania (Europe)

Romanian flag

Capital: Bucharest

Population: 19.3 Million

Size: 92,046 sq. miles

Currency: Romanian Leu

Tallest point: Moldoveanu Peak 8,346 feet tall

Main religion: Christain 92.3% 

Main languages: Romanian, Albanian, Amerian, Bulgarian, and Croatian 

About: In 1989, after the Berlin Wall fell, Romania became independent from the Soviet Union. 

Peles castle in Sinaia, Romania

Russia (Europe)

Russian flag

Capital: Moscow

Population: 146.7 Million 

Size: 6,612,073 sq. miles

Currency: Russian Ruble

Tallest point: Mount Elbrus 15,554 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 73% 

Main languages: Russian, English, German, French, and Turkish

About: In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved and the Russian Federation was formed. 

Red Square in Moscow, Russia

Rwanda (Africa)

Rwanda flag

Capital: Kigali

Population: 12.3 Million

Size: 10,169 sq. miles

Currency: Rwandan Franc

Tallest point: Mount Karisimbi 14,787 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 93.2% 

Main languages: English, French, Kinyarwanda, and Swahili 

About: On July 1, 1962, Rwanda became independent from Belgium. It was formerly part of the Belgian Congo. 

Mount Kibuye, Rwanda

Saint Kitts and Nevis (North America)

Saint Kitts and Nevis flag

Capital: Basseterre 

Population: 52,441 

Size: 101 sq. miles

Currency: East Carribean Dollar 

Tallest point: Mount Liamuiga 3,792 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 94.6% 

Main languages: English

About: On September 19, 1983, Saint Kitts and Nevis became independent from Great Britain. 

Brimstone Hill Fortress in Middle Island Parish, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia (North America)

Saint Lucia flag

Capital: Castries

Population: 184,751 

Size: 238 sq. miles

Currency: East Carribean Dollar 

Tallest point: Mount Gimie 3,145 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 90.4% 

Main languages: English and Saint Lucian Creole French

About: Saint Lucia gained full independence from Britain on February 22, 1979. 

The Pittons, Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (North America)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines flag

Capital: Kingstown 

Population: 110,211 people 

Size: 150 sq. miles

Currency: East Carribean Dollar

Tallest point: La Soufriere 4,049 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 82.1%

Main languages: English and Vincentian Creole 

About: On October 27, 1979, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines became independent from Great Britain. 

Fort Charlotte in Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Samoa (Australia and the Pacific)

Samoa flag

Capital: Apia 

Population: 202,506 

Size: 1,079 sq. miles

Currency: Tala 

Tallest point: Mount Silisili 6,069 feet tall 

Main religion: Christianity 100% 

Main languages: Samoan and English 

About: On June 1, 1962, Samoa became independent from New Zealand. 

Sopoaga Falls on Savai’i, Island, Samoa

San Marino (Europe)

San Marino flag

Capital: San Marino 

Population: 34,232 

Size: 23 sq. miles

Currency: Euro

Tallest point: Monte Titano 2,425 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 97%

Main languages: Italian and Emilian-Romagnol 

About: San Marino became an independent city-state in 301 AD. Since then it’s been independent. 

Landscape of San Marino

Sao Tome and Principe (Africa)

Sao Tome and Principe flag

Capital: Sao Tome

Population: 211,028 

Size: 386 sq. miles

Currency: Dobra 

Tallest point: Pico de Sao Tome 6,640 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 82.2% 

Main languages: Portuguese, Forro, Angolar, and Principense 

About: On July 12, 1975, Sao Tome and Principe became independent from Portugal. 

Pico de Sao Tome

Saudi Arabia (Asia)

Saudi Arabia flag

Capital: Riyadh 

Population: 34.2 Million 

Size: 830,000 sq. miles

Currency: Saudi Riyal 

Tallest point: Jabal Sawda 10,279 feet tall 

Main religion: Islam 100% 

Main languages: Arabic 

About: After WW1 and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, Saudi Arabia was formed in 1932. 

The Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Senegal (Africa)

Senegal flag

Capital: Dakar 

Population: 15.8 Million 

Size: 75,951 sq. miles

Currency: WAF Franc (Western African Franc) 

Tallest point: Unnamed Location 2,126 feet tall 

Main religion: Islam 95% 

Main languages: French and Wolof 

About: On April 4, 1960, Senegal became independent from France. Four months later on August 20, 1960, Senegal withdrew from the Mali Federation, and became completely independent. 

Gorre Island, Senegal

Serbia (Europe)

Serbian flag

Capital: Belgrade 

Population: 6.9 Million 

Size: 29,913 sq. miles 

Currency: Serbian Dinar

Tallest point: Midzor 8,720 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 90.6% 

Main languages: Serbian, Hungarian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Croatian 

About: In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, Serbia became independent. It gained full independence after the Yugoslav wars in 2006. 

Saint Sava Cathedral in Belgrade, Serbia

Seychelles (Africa)

Seychelles flag

Capital: Victoria 

Population: 98,462 

Size: 177 sq. mile 

Currency: Seychellois Rupee 

Tallest point: Morne Seychelles 2,969 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 89.2% 

Main languages: English, French, and Seychellois Creole

About: On June 29, 1976, Seychelles became independent from Great Britain. 

Unity monument in Victoria, Seychelles

Sierra Leone (Africa)

Sierra Leone flag

Capital: Freetown 

Population: 8 Million 

Size: 27,700 sq. miles 

Currency: Leone 

Tallest point: Mount Bintumani 6,381 feet tall 

Main religion: Islam 78% 

Main languages: English and Krio 

About: On April 19, 1961, Sierra Leone became independent from Great Britain. 

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Singapore (Asia)

Singapore flag

Capital: Singapore 

Population: 5.7 Million 

Size: 281.2 sq. miles

Currency: Singapore Dollar

Tallest point: Bukit Timah Hill 537 feet tall 

Main religion: Buddhism 33.2%  

Main languages: Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil 

About: On June 3, 1959, Singapore became independent from Great Britain but was still part of Malaysia. On August 9, 1965, Singapore became independent from Malaysia. 

Gardens by the bay, Singapore

Slovakia (Europe)

Slovakian flag

Capital: Bratislava 

Population: 5.4 Million 

Size: 18,933 sq. miles 

Currency: Euro 

Tallest point: Gerlachovsky stit 8,711 feet tall 

 Main religion: Christain 85.9% 

Main languages: Slovak 

About: When the Berlin wall fell and the dissolution of the Soviet Union was happening, Slovakia became independent on January 1, 1993. It was formerly known as Czechaslovakia. 

Bojnice castle in Bojnice, Slovakia

Slovenia (Europe)

Slovenia flag

Capital: Ljubljana 

Population: 2.1 Million 

Size: 7,827 sq. miles 

Currency: Euro 

Tallest point: Triglav 9,395 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 77.8% 

Main languages: Slovene, Italian, and Hungarian 

About: On June 25, 1991, Slovenia became separate from the rest of Yugoslavia. 

Bled Island tower in Bled, Slovenia

Solomon Islands (Australia and the Pacific)

Solomon Islands flag

Capital: Honiara 

Population: 652,857 

Size: 11,000 sq. miles

Currency: Solomon Islands Dollar 

Tallest point: Mount Popomanaseu 7,661 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 97.4% 

Main languages: English 

About: On July 7, 1978, the Solomon Islands became independent from Great Britain. 

King Solomon Hotel in Honiara, Solomon Islands

Somalia (Africa)

Somalia flag

Capital: Mogadishu 

Population: 15.8 Million 

Size: 246,201 sq. miles

Currency: Somali Shilling 

Tallest point: Mount Shimbiris 8,071 feet tall 

Main religion: Islam 100% 

Main languages: Somali, Arabic, English, and Italian 

About: During WW2 Italy invaded Ethiopia and Somalia and conquered it. After the war Great Britain kept Somalia as its own until its independence on July 1, 1960. 

Hadful mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia

South Africa (Africa)

South Africa flag

Capital: Pretoria, Capetown, and Bloemfontein 

Population: 59.6 Million 

Size: 471,445 sq. miles

Currency: South African Rand 

Tallest point: Mafadi 11,306 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 78% 

Main languages: English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, and Sepedi 

About: In 1910, South Africa was unified into the Union of South Africa. In 1934, it gained independence from Great Britain, but the British monarch was still the head of the state. On May 31, 1961, it gained full independence from Britain. 

Capetown, South Africa

South Sudan (Africa)

South Sudan flag

Capital: Juba 

Population: 12.7 Million 

Size: 239,285 sq. miles 

Currency: South Sudanese Pound 

Tallest point: Kinyeti 10,456 feet tall 

Main religion: Christain 60.5% 

Main languages: English, Arabic, Otuho, Acholi, and Dinka 

About: On July 9, 2011, after a civil war, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. 

All Saints Cathedral in Juba, South Sudan