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Enchiridion of Pope Leo, The


This is a collection of charms, cast in forms of prayers, which have nothing in common with those of the Church. The prayers are mainly concerned with worldly riches, not spiritual ones. It was perhaps printed in Rome in 1523, and again in 1606. Its magical virtue rests on a supposed letter from Charlemagne to Pope Leo, in which he states that since receiving the Enchiridion he has never ceased to be fortunate. The charms it contains are supposed to be effectual against all the dangers to which the human flesh is heir-poison, fire, wild beasts and tempests. When a copy of the book has been secured, it must be placed in a small bag of leather, carried on the person, at least one page is read daily. The reading must be done upon the knees with the face turned toward the east, and works of piety must be performed in honor of the celestial spirits, whose influence it is desired to attract. The first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John is declared to be the most potent in the book. (see Gospel of Saint John, The) As for the symbols, they are mostly of oriental design. It also includes mysterious prayers of Pope Leo, and certain conjurations of a semi-magical character, and seven mysterious orisons, which are merely clumsy imitations of the Roman ritual. A.G.H.


Source: 81, 143.