Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Saint Hilary Of Poitiers (300 A.D.-368 A.D.). "Hammer Of The Arians" (Latin: Malleus Arianorum) And "Athanasius Of The West". Bishop, Confessor, And Doctor Of The Church. Feast Day 14 January.

Text and Illustrations from Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia,
unless otherwise stated.

English: Stained-Glass Window in The Choir of the Church of Saint Hilary of Boussais,
Deux-Sèvres, France. It shows the entrance of Saint Hilary into Poitiers.
Français: Vitraux du chœur de l'église Saint-Hilaire de Boussais,
Deux-Sèvres, France. Représentation
de l'entrée de saint Hilaire à Poitiers.
Photo: 23 June 2009.
Source: Own work.
Author: Père Igor.
(Wikimedia Commons)

English: The Nave of the Church of Saint Hilary-the-Great, Poitiers, France.
Français: Nef de l'église Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand à Poitiers.
Photo: 12 June 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: GO69.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Hilary (Hilarius) of Poitiers (circa 300 A.D. – circa 368 A.D.) was Bishop of Poitiers and is a Doctor of The Church. He was sometimes referred to as "The Hammer of the Arians" (Latin: Malleus Arianorum) and "The Athanasius of The West." His name, Hilary, comes from the Latin word for "happy" or "cheerful". His Feast Day is 14 January.

Hilary was born at Poitiers, either at the end of the 3rd-Century A.D., or the beginning of the 4th-Century A.D. His parents were pagans of distinction. He received a good education, including what had even then become somewhat rare in The West, some knowledge of Greek. He studied, later on, The Old and New Testament writings, with the result that he abandoned his Neo-Platonism for Christianity, and, with his wife and his daughter (Traditionally named Saint Abra), was Baptised and received into The Church.

The Christians of Poitiers so respected Hilary that, about 350 A.D. or 353 A.D., they unanimously elected him their Bishop. At that time, Arianism threatened to overrun The Western Church; Hilary undertook to repel the disruption. One of his first steps was to secure the Excommunication, by those of the Gallican hierarchy who still remained Orthodox Christians, of Saturninus, the Arian Bishop of Arles, and of Ursacius and Valens, two of his prominent supporters.

English: The Ordination of Saint Hilary of Poitiers.
From a 14th-Century Manuscript.
Français: Ordination de saint Hilaire.
Date: 14th century; Vie de saintes.
Author: Richard de Montbaston et collaborateurs.
(Wikimedia Commons)

About the same time, Hilary wrote to Emperor Constantius II a remonstrance against the persecutions by which the Arians had sought to crush their opponents (Ad Constantium Augustum liber primus, of which the most probable date is 355 A.D.). His efforts did not succeed at first, for at The Synod of Biterrae (Béziers), summoned by The Emperor in 356 A.D., with the professed purpose of settling the long-standing dispute, an Imperial "Rescript" banished the new Bishop, along with Rhodanus of Toulouse, to Phrygia.

Hilary spent nearly four years in exile, although the reasons for this banishment remain obscure. The traditional explanation is that Hilary was exiled for refusing to subscribe to the condemnation of Athanasius and The Nicene Creed. More recently, several scholars have suggested that political opposition to Constantius and support of the usurper, Silvanus, may have led to Hilary's downfall.

While in Phrygia, however, he continued to govern his Diocese, as well as writing two of the most important of his contributions to Dogmatic and Polemical Theology: the De synodis, or, De fide Orientalium, an epistle addressed in 358 A.D., to the Semi-Arian Bishops in Gaul, Germany and Britain, expounding the true views (sometimes veiled in ambiguous words) of the Eastern Bishops on the Nicene controversy; and the De trinitate libri XII, composed in 359 A.D. and 360 A.D., the first successful expression in Latin of that Council's theological subtleties originally elaborated in Greek. Although some members of Hilary's own party thought the first contribution had shown too great a forbearance towards the Arians, Hilary replied to their criticisms in the Apologetica ad reprehensores libri de synodis responsa.

English: Illumination, showing Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, from
The Passionary of 
Weissenau (Weißenauer Passionale); Fondation Bodmer,
Coligny, Switzerland; 
Cod. Bodmer 127, fol. 144r.
Deutsch: Initial I und Miniatur des hl. Hilarius, ein totes Kind zum Leben erweckend; aus dem Weißenauer Passionale; Fondation Bodmer, Coligny, Switzerland; Cod. Bodmer 127, fol. 144r.
Date: Between 1170 and 1200.
Author: either an unknown master or „Frater Rufillus“.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Hilary also attended several Synods during his time in exile, including The Council at Seleucia
(359 A.D.), which saw the triumph of the "Homoion Party" and the forbidding of all discussion of The Divine Substance. In 360 A.D., Hilary tried unsuccessfully to secure a personal audience with Constantius, as well as to address The Council which met at Constantinople in 360 A.D.

When this Council ratified the decisions of Ariminum and Seleucia, Hilary responded with the bitter In Constantium, which attacked Emperor Constantius as "Anti-Christ" and "Persecutor of Orthodox Christians". Hilary's urgent and repeated requests for public debates with his opponents, especially with Ursacius and Valens, proved at last so inconvenient that he was sent back to his Diocese, which he appears to have reached about 361 A.D., within a very short time of the accession of Emperor Julian.

On returning to his Diocese in 361 A.D., Hilary spent most of the first two or three years trying to persuade the local Clergy that the "Homoion" confession was merely a cover for traditional Arian sub-ordinationism. Thus, a number of Synods in Gaul condemned The Creed promulgated at The Council of Ariminium (359 A.D.).

In about 360 A.D., or 361 A.D., with Hilary's encouragement, Martin, the future Bishop of Tours, founded a Monastery, at Ligugé in Hilary's Diocese.

English: The Saint Maixent School, Abbey Saint Maixent. Department of Deux-Sèvres, France. Stained-Glass Windows in The Choir, showing Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Français: Vitrail consacré à cinq saints évêques liés à l' abbatiale, et un roi: St Saturnin
premier saint patron, St Quabit (?), St Hilaire, St Léger qui fut abbé de Saint-Maixent,
St Maxence alias St Maixent nom monastique d'Adjutor fondateur du monastère,
St Agapit fondateur de la première communauté et Saint Louis protecteur de l' abbaye.
Source: Own work.
Author: Dvillafruela.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In 364 A.D., Hilary extended his efforts once more beyond Gaul. He impeached Auxentius, Bishop of Milan, a man high in The Imperial Favour, as heterodox. Emperor Valentinian I accordingly summoned Hilary to Milan to there maintain his charges. However, the supposed Heretic gave satisfactory answers to all the questions proposed. Hilary denounced Auxentius as a hypocrite, as he himself was ignominiously expelled from Milan. Upon returning home, Hilary, in 365 A.D., published the Contra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem liber, describing his unsuccessful efforts against Auxentius. He also (but perhaps at a somewhat earlier date) published the Contra Constantium Augustum liber, accusing the lately-deceased Emperor as having been The Anti-Christ, a rebel against God, "a tyrant whose sole object had been to make a gift to the devil of that world for which Christ had suffered." According to Jerome, Saint Hilary died in Poitiers circa 368 A.D.

Recent research has distinguished between Hilary's thoughts before his period of exile in Phrygia under Constantius and the quality of his later major Works. While Hilary closely followed the two great Alexandrians, Origen and Athanasius, in exegesis and Christology, respectively, his Work shows many traces of vigorous independent thought.

Among Hilary's earliest Writings, completed some time before his exile in 356 A.D., is his Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei, an allegorical exegesis of The First Gospel. This is the first Latin Commentary on Matthew to have survived in its entirety. Hilary's "Commentary" was strongly influenced by Tertullian and Cyprian, and made use of several Classical writers, including Cicero, Quintilian, Pliny and the Roman historians.

The Church of the former Abbey of Saint-Maixent ,
in the Commune 
It contains Stained-Glass Windows showing 
Saint Hilary of Poitiers (see, above).
Photo: 31 January 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: MOSSOT.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Nave of the Abbey of Saint-Maixent, France,
which contains Stained-Glass Windows
showing Saint Hilary of Poitiers (see, above).
Photo: 31 January 2010.
Source: Own work.
Author: MOSSOT.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Hilary's expositions of The Psalms, Tractatus super Psalmos, largely follow Origen, and were composed some time after Hilary returned from exile in 360 A.D. Since Jerome found the work incomplete, no-one knows whether Hilary originally commented on the whole Psalter. Now extant are the "Commentaries" on Psalms 1, 2, 9, 13, 14, 51-69, 91, and 118-150.

The third surviving exegetical writing by Hilary is the Tractatus mysteriorum, preserved in a single Manuscript, first published in 1887.

Because Augustine cites part of the "Commentary on Romans" as, "by Sanctus Hilarius", it has been ascribed by various critics at different times to almost every known Hilary.

Hilary's major theological work was the twelve books, now known as De Trinitate. This was composed largely during his exile, though perhaps not completed until his return to Gaul in 360 A.D.

English: Illustration from the Nuremberg Chronicle,
showing Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.
Deutsch: Illustration aus der Schedel'schen Weltchronik, Blatt 131 recto.
Date: 1493.
Source: Scan from original book.
Author: Michel Wolgemut, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff (Text: Hartmann Schedel).
(Wikimedia Commons)

Another important work is De synodis, written early in 359 A.D., in preparation for The Councils of Ariminium and Seleucia.

Various writings comprise Hilary's 'Historical' Works. These include the Liber II ad Constantium imperatorem, the Liber in Constantium inperatorem, Contra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem liber, and the various documents relating to the Arian controversy in Fragmenta historica.
Some consider Hilary as the first Latin Christian Hymn-Writer, because Jerome said Hilary produced a "Liber Hymnorum". Three Hymns are attributed to him, though none are indisputable.

Hilary is the pre-eminent Latin writer of the 4th-Century A.D., (before Ambrose). Augustine of Hippo called him "the illustrious Doctor of the Churches", and his Works continued to be highly-influential in later Centuries. Venantius Fortunatus wrote a Vita of Hilary, by 550 A.D., but few now consider it reliable. More trustworthy are the notices in Saint Jerome (De vir. illus. 100), Sulpicius Severus (Chron. ii. 39-45) and in Hilary's own Writings. Blessed Pope Pius IX formally recognised him as Universae Ecclesiae Doctor in 1851.

English: Pussemange (Belgium). Church of Saint Hilary (1872-1874).
Français: Pussemange (Belgique), l’église Saint-Hilaire (1872-1874).
Deutsch: Pussemange (Belgien), die Sint-Hilarius kirche (1872-1874).
Walon: Pûsmadje (Bèljike), l’églîje Sint-Ilaîre (1872-1874).
Photo: 14 July 2007.
Source: Own work.
(Wikimedia Commons)

For English educational and legal institutions, Saint Hilary's Festival lies at the start of The Hilary Term, which begins in January. The name Hilary Term is given in Oxford University to The Term, beginning on 7 January, that includes his Feast. Some consider Saint Hilary of Poitiers as The Patron Saint of Lawyers. From his Writing, Saint Hilary's symbol came to be three books and a quill pen.

Sulpicius Severus' Vita Sancti Martini led to a cult of Saint Hilary, as well as of Saint Martin of Tours, which spread early to Western Britain. The villages of Saint Hilary, in Cornwall, England, and Glamorgan, Wales, and that of Llanilar, in Ceredigion, Wales, bear his name.

English: Interior of Sant'Ilario di Poitiers, France.
Italiano: L'autore io, chiesa di s.ilario, bedero valcuvia, libero uso.
Date: 12 January 2010 (original upload date).
Source: Transferred from it.wikipedia; transferred to Commons
Author: Original uploader was Davide9191 at it.wikipedia.
Permission: Released into the public domain (by the author).
(Wikimedia Commons)

English: The 15th-Century and 16th-Century
Parish Church of Saint Hilary,
Clohars-Fouesnant, Brittany, France.
Français: Clohars-Fouesnant : l'église
paroissiale Saint-Hilaire (XVe et XVIe siècles).
Photo: 9 August 2012.
Source: Own work.
Author: Moreau.henri.
(Wikimedia Commons)

In France, most Dedications to Saint Hilary are West (and North) of The Massif Central, and the cult in this region eventually extended to Canada.

In North-West Italy, the Church of Sant’Ilario, at Casale Monferrato, was dedicated to Saint Hilary, as early as 380 A.D.

The Church of Saint Hilary-the-Great,
Poitiers, France.
This File: 12 April 2008.
User: MainMa.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The following Text is from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal.

Saint Hilary.
Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor.
Feast Day 14 January.


White Vestments.

After having persecuted The Church during the first Centuries, the Christian, but at the same time Heretical, Emperors continued their attacks by supporting Arianism, which denied The Divinity of Christ.

In The Season after Epiphany, when Jesus affirms His Divinity by His teaching and Miracles, the first Saint, whom The Church presents to us, is one of the most intrepid defenders of this fundamental Dogma of Christianity.

Saint Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, France, in 352 A.D., (Communion) endowed with great natural and supernatural talent, for "The Lord has filled him with The Spirit of Wisdom and Intelligence" (Introit), fought with his pen and his eloquence against those "who closed their ears to Truth and opened them to fables" (Epistle).

English: Shrine, containing the Relics of Saint Hilary,
in the Crypt of the Church of 
Saint Hilary-the-Great,
Poitiers, France.
Deutsch: Saint-Hilaire-de-Poitiers, Reliqienschrein in der Krypta
Photo: August 2008.
Source: Own work.
Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons by
Author: KBWEi at de.wikipedia.
(Wikimedia Commons)

This "Salt of the Earth", this Light of God's House, would not suffer, under the false excuse of favouring peace and unity, The Salt of True Doctrine to be corrupted or The Light of Truth to be hidden under a bushel.

"Having thus taught the practice of The Commandments, even to the last tittle, he is great in The Kingdom of Heaven" (Gospel), and The Church, which is the Earthly portion of this Kingdom, has, by the voice of Blessed Pope Pius IX, awarded him the Title of Doctor (Collect). He died in 368 A.D.

Let us have recourse to the intercession of Saint Hilary, in order always to be the intrepid defenders of The Divinity of Christ.

Mass: In Médio.
Commemoration: Saint Felix (Priest and Martyr), same day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...