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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, 367.

Hilary was born of a powerful pagan family in Gaul. He became a Christian and, perhaps due to the prestige of his name, was elected Bishop of Poitiers as a young, married layman. He accepted the call and threw himself wholeheartedly into the task of shepherding his flock.

In his time many Christians in Gaul were Arians. That is, they accepted Jesus as master and son of God, but denied that he was truly God. Hilary questioned the truth of such teaching and was soon exiled by Arian leaders of the church. He fled to the Eastern Mediterranean, then the heartland of Christianity, and there he learned theology and developed his pastoral skills. Tutored by the same Christian leaders who wrote the Nicene Creed, Hilary became a champion of the orthodox Christian faith. He not only returned to his diocese, but he eventually gained general acceptance there and exerted influence throughout Western Europe.

He was a tireless teacher. One of his famous pupils was Martin of Tours (see November 11). Hilary was largely responsible for the acceptance of the Nicene Creed in Western Europe. We honor him best when we seek a genuine understanding of Trinitarian doctrine.

Grant that we may hold fast to your servant Hilary's faith in Jesus Christ as Very God and Very Man. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O Lord our God, you raised up your servant Hilary to be a champion of the catholic faith: Keep us steadfast in that true faith which we professed at our baptism, that we may rejoice in having you for our Father, and may abide in your Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

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