BISHOP AND dOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
Saint Hilary was the son of wealthy pagan parents, born c. 300 AD. He was the recipient of an excellent education and had a keen mind. Although raised a pagan, Hilary questioned the concept of revering many gods. He began a quest to discover the one true God in Holy Scripture, and there, in the Gospels, he found Jesus. He believed the Lord’s teachings, became a Christian and was baptized.
Hilary was a gentle and mild man, but unafraid to fight for and defend Christianity when necessary. His primary weapon was the pen and his enemy, the 4th Century scourge of Arianism, a heresy that refuted the Divinity of Christ. In the year 353 AD, even though already a husband and father, he was appointed Bishop of Poitiers. As Bishop, he embraced celibacy and dedicated his remaining years to the Church. He staunchly defended the decrees of Nicaea and preached the doctrine of salvation through Jesus as the Son of God. His stance displeased the Roman Emperor Constantine II, who exiled Saint Hilary to present-day Turkey. During his four-year exile, Hilary composed books, hymns, and sermons in support of his faith and in defense of the Blessed Trinity. He is considered the earliest hymnist.
At the end of his exile, he returned to Poitiers. There in the town square, the faithful gathered to welcome him home. This kind and affable man continued his writing and preaching until his death in 368. Saint Hilary, highly respected for his humility and intelligence, was named a Doctor of the Church in 1851 by Pope Pius IX.