|Left Behind character|
|Created by||Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins|
|Title||Global Community Supreme Commander|
|Religion||Catholicism, later Carpathianism|
Leonardo "Leon" Fortunato is a fictional character in the Left Behind series of Christian novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. He is in fact the False Prophet, and he is a key member of the inner circle of Nicolae Carpathia, businessman, financier, politician, and Antichrist.
In his native Italy, Leon grew up fascinated with the trappings of Catholicism, although he never truly believed in any of the Church's teachings; Leon simply liked the pomp and circumstance. He was fond of dressing in ornate and flowing robes and strutting all over his college campus. After being expelled, Fortunato grew fond of becoming a kingmaker, preferring to work behind the scenes to elevate his chosen candidates to any positions of power they wanted. Carpathia, wanting to enter politics himself, employed Leon on his staff, and grew to value the older man's counseling; although Leon tended to be clingy and sycophantic, he taught Carpathia humility (or more specifically, how to feign humility) which proved to be very valuable on the world political stage.
When Carpathia creates the Global Community, he appoints Leon to the position of Supreme Commander, the deputy to Nicolae's Supreme Potentate.
Throughout his relationship with Carpathia, Fortunato continues to fawn over the man, a fact that seems to be driven home when Leon died in the Wrath of the Lamb earthquake. He had been buried and crushed in the rubble of the GC headquarters complex and his mother was calling him home, when he heard a voice - Carpathia's - calling out: "LEONARDO, COME FORTH!" in imitation of a command that Jesus Christ gave to Lazarus. Leon is revived, and then becomes more faithful than ever to Carpathia, believing that Carpathia is a god incarnate. Like Nicolae, Leon regularly communicated with the 'spirit world'; it is implied that both men shared the same spiritual 'guide' - Satan himself.
Later, when Carpathia is slain and resurrected as prophesied, Fortunato becomes even more important, and is Carpathia's go-to man, his right hand. Leon becomes the Most High Reverend Father of the new religion of Carpathianism. He is imbued with power from Lucifer and is able to kill believers (such as Annie Christopher) with the Satanic ability to call down fire from the sky, either as lightning from a cloudless blue sky (as he did in killing three opposing sub-potentates during Carpathia's funeral) or as a single ball of flame (in the slaying of Hattie Durham), and is officially identified as the False Prophet that aids the Antichrist. In The Remnant, he is given the task of training a legion of wizards, priests and miracle-workers, who are also bestowed with various similar demonic abilities.
Fortunato's "glory days" are short-lived, however, ending in Glorious Appearing with the return of Jesus. In Fortunato's final moments of life, he reveals his true self: a babbling, incoherent coward. He knelt before Jesus and acknowledged him as Lord without hesitation, and attempted to convince Jesus Christ and His archangels during the Glorious Appearing that he had renounced Carpathia and that they should show him mercy, but Leon was unable to save himself from eternity in the lake of fire.
The world catches a final glimpse of both Carpathia and Fortunato at the end of the Millennium World, when Satan himself is thrown into the Lake of Fire. Fortunato is writhing in pain and shouting "Jesus is Lord!" The scene closes and Fortunato's suffering is resumed for all eternity.
Leon Fortunato has been described as Nicolae Carpathia's sidekick. Because he is an Italian American, he has been cited as an example of the cultural diversity of the novels' characters. In The Mark, Fortunato is revealed to be the Left Behind series' incarnation of the Beast described in the Book of Revelation. One critic has condemned the silliness of Fortunato's titles as being anti-Catholic and populist. There have also been complaints about the farcical characterization of Leon Fortunato when he suffers from the pain of a hemorrhoid in Desecration.
- Malcolm Gold (2006). "The Left Behind Series as Sacred Text?". In Elisabeth Arweck, Peter Jeffrey Collins. Reading Religion in Text and Context: Reflections of Faith and Practice in Religious Materials (Ashgate Publishing): 38. ISBN 0-7546-5482-6. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- Melani McAlister (2005). "Prophecy, Politics, and the Popular: The Left Behind Series and Christian Evangelicalism's New World Order". In Rebecca L. Stein, Ted Swedenburg. Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture (Duke University Press): 304. ISBN 0-8223-3516-6. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- David Reed (2008). Left Behind Answered Verse by Verse. Lulu.com. p. 123. ISBN 1-4357-0873-3. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- Michael Standaert (2006). Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire. Soft Skull Press. p. 197. ISBN 1-932360-96-4. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- Glenn W. Shuck (2005). Marks of the Beast: The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity. NYU Press. pp. 15–16. ISBN 0-8147-4005-7. Retrieved June 26, 2011.