Archbishop of Seville
Saint Leander was born of an illustrious family at Carthagena in Spain. He was the eldest of five brothers, several of whom are numbered among the Saints. He entered into a monastery of Seville very young, where he lived many years and attained to an eminent degree of virtue and sacred learning. These qualities occasioned his being promoted to the see of Seville; but his change of condition made little or no alteration in his way of life, though it brought on him a great increase of solicitude.
Spain at that time was held in possession by the Visigoths. These Goths, being infected with Arianism, established that heresy wherever they came, in such wise that at the time Saint Leander was made bishop, it had already reigned in Spain a hundred years. This was his great affliction. Nonetheless, by his prayers to God and by his most zealous and unwearied endeavors, he became the happy instrument of the conversion of that nation to the Catholic faith, as his story makes clear.
The holy archbishop had converted, among others, his own nephew Hermenegild, who was the king’s eldest son and heir apparent, and for this he was banished by King Leovigild, his own brother-in-law. The pious Catholic prince, now known as Saint Hermenegild, was put to death in prison by his unnatural father in the following year, for refusing to receive Communion from the hands of an Arian bishop. Afterwards, touched by grace and filled with remorse, the king recalled Saint Leander.