Saint Hilary of Poitiers
Jan 13, 2015 / Written by: America Needs Fatima
Feast January 13
Hilary was born into an illustrious family in Poitiers, Gaul, in present-day France. Although he was brought up in idolatry, its tenets and beliefs did not satisfy his spiritual thirst.
Chancing upon a copy of the Sacred Scriptures one day, after years of searching and studying, Hilary opened the Book of Exodus to God's words to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." "I was frankly amazed at such a clear definition of God, which expressed the incomprehensible knowledge of the divine nature in words most suited to human intelligence," he wrote later.
The pursuit of meaning for his own existence, which had consumed all his thoughts up until then, had found its answer and he converted to Christianity. By this time he was married and had a daughter named Apra.
His eminent qualities attracted not only the attention of Gaul but of the Church, and in 350, against his humble protests, he was chosen, by clergy and laity alike, and consecrated Bishop of Poitiers.
He went on to wisely and valiantly combat the Arian heresy. The Arians did not believe in the divinity of Christ and they exerted much power and enjoyed the support of the emperor. This led to many persecutions. When Hilary refused to support the Arians in their condemnation of St. Athanasius in 356, he was himself exiled by Emperor Constantius. However, he continued his courageous fight from exile. "Although in exile we shall speak through these books, and the word of God, which cannot be bound, shall move about in freedom," he challenged them.
Doctrinal works flowed from his pen during this period, the most renowned and esteemed of these being On the Holy Trinity. The earliest writing of Latin hymns is also attributed to him.
Returning to Gaul from exile, Hilary strengthened the weak in the Faith and convoked a synod to condemn that of Rimini in 359. He fought Arianism to his very death in 368.
St. Hilary was proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Blessed Pius IX in 1851.