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St. Hilary of Poitiers

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Bishop, Confessor & Doctor of the Church

Hilary was born to a noble pagan family in what is now central France, in the early fourth century. He was highly educated, and through reason and study he rejected polytheism before coming into the Church with his wife and daughter. Around the year 350, he was prevailed upon to become bishop of Poitiers. Hilary reluctantly accepted, and he and his wife lived in perfect chastity from then on. As bishop, Hilary wrote prodigiously on the faith, and particularly against the Arian heresy. His fierce defense of orthodoxy ran afoul of the heretical Emperor Constantius, who banished several holy bishops including Hilary. While in exile in Asia Minor, Hilary continued to write against Arianism, and also composed one of the oldest known Latin hymns, Lucis largitor splendide. Eventually the holy bishop was sent back to his see at Poitiers, where St. Martin of Tours was a loyal disciple. Hilary died in the year of Our Lord 367 or 368, having earned the titles “Hammer of the Arians” and “Athanasius of the West”. He was named a Doctor of the Church in 1851, and he is considered a patron of lawyers and against snakes.

 

Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 14th

ST. HILARY, bishop of Poitiers and confessor, who entered heaven on the thirteenth day of this month.

At Nola, in Campania, the birthday of St. Felix, priest, who (as is related by bishop St. Paulinus), after being subjected to torments by the persecutors, was cast into prison and extended, bound hand and foot, on (snail) shells and broken earthenware. In the night, however, his bonds were loosened and he was delivered by an angel. The persecution over, he brought many to the faith of Christ by his exemplary life and teaching, and, renowned for miracles, rested in peace.

In Judaea, St. Malachy, prophet.

On Mount Sinai, thirty-eight holy monks, killed by the Saracens for the faith of Christ.

In Egypt, in the district of Raithy, forty-three holy monks, who were put to death by the Blemmians, for the Christian religion.

At Milan, St. Datius, bishop and confessor, mentioned by pope St. Gregory.

In Africa, St. Euphrasius, bishop.

In Syria, in the time of the emperor Valens, St. Julian Sabas, the Elder, who miraculously restored at Antioch the Catholic faith, which was almost destroyed in that city.

At Neocaesarea, in Pontus, St. Macrina, disciple of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, and grandmother of St. Basil, whom she brought up in the Christian faith.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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