Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Today, January 13, is the feast day of SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS Bishop and Doctor of the Church (c. 315-c. 367) He is a saint especially relevant to our present struggle. Sadly, too many people despair about the divisions in our local church. But divisions have always existed and error has always had to be fought against. During the period of the Arian heresy, there were more bishops who were Arian than Catholic, though they considered themselves Catholic. But the true Church has always persevered because of great saints like Saint Hilary of Poitiers.

From Butler's Lives of the Saints.

13 January SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS Bishop and Doctor of the Church (c. 315-c. 367)         

St. Hilary was a native of Poitiers in Aquitaine. Born and educated a pagan, it was not till near middle age that he embraced Christianity, moved thereto mainly by the idea of God presented to him in the Holy Scriptures. He soon converted his wife and daughter, and separated himself rigidly from all un-Catholic company.         

In the beginning of his conversion St. Hilary would not eat with Jews or heretics, nor salute them by the way; but afterwards, for their sake, he relaxed this severity. He entered Holy Orders, and in 350 was chosen bishop of his native city.         

Arian heresy, under the protection of the Emperor, was just then in the height of its power, and St. Hilary found himself called upon to support the orthodox cause in several Gallic councils, in which Arian bishops formed an overwhelming majority. He was in consequence accused to the emperor, who banished him to Phrygia. He spent his three years and more of exile in composing his great Treatise on the Trinity and many others works.         

In 359 he attended the Council of Seleucia, in which Arians, semi-Arians, and Catholics contended for the mastery. With the deputies of the council he proceeded to Constantinople, and there so dismayed the heads of the Arian party that they prevailed upon the emperor to let him return to Gaul. He traversed Gaul, Italy, and Illyria, wherever he came discomfiting the heretics and procuring triumph of orthodoxy.         

After seven or eight years of missionary travel he returned to Poitiers, where he died in peace in 368. 

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