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January 13

St Hilary of Poitiers - January 13

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Bishop, Doctor of the Church

(Around 310 – Around 368)

“Impart to us the meaning of the words of Scripture and the light to understand it.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Saint’s Life Story

His Early Life 

Hilary was born around 310 in Poitiers, Aquitaine, Gaul (France) to wealthy, noble parents. He was raised a pagan. Hilary was converted from paganism to Christianity by his study of the Bible and was baptized when he was older.

Married with a Daughter Saint Abra

Hilary had been married before his conversion and had a daughter named Abra who also became a saint after her conversion. His wife and daughter , Saint Abra, were both still alive, when despite his objections, he was elected Bishop of Poitiers around 353. According to the practice that existed, married men were sometimes promoted to the episcopacy, but as St. Jerome clearly testifies, they ever after lived in continence. 

Bishop of Poitiers Involved in Controversy

Almost at once, Hilary became involved in the Arian controversy and became the main defender of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Hilary refused to attend the Synod of Milan called by the Emperor Constantius II in 355 where all the bishops in attendance were required to sign a condemnation of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria. In 356, Hilary was condemned for his orthodoxy by the Synod of Beziers that was presided over by Arian Bishop Saturninus of Arles and was mostly composed of Arian bishops. Later in the year, he was exiled to Phrygia by Emperor Constantius II for 4 years. 

Hilary succesfully refuted Arianism in 359 when he spoke out at the Council of Seleucia. He encouraged the  clergy to resist the ongoing dissent and have the Emperor allow him to go back to Poitiers, France.  In 360, the Emperor ended his banishment and allowed him to return. In about 360 or 361, with Hilary’s encouragement, Saint Martin of Tours, the future bishop founded a monastery at Ligugé in his diocese.

The following year, Hilary convoked a Synod where he deposed and excommunciated Bishop Saturninus. That same year Emperor Constantius II death stopped the Arian persecution of the Catholics. In 364, Hilary held a public dispute at Milan with Auxentius, the Arian usurper of that see. He defeated him and Auxentius was ordered from Milan by Emperor Valentinian I.

His Literary Works

His skills as a debater were matched by his lasting literary works on the faith that included:

  • De Trinitate (On the Trinity – that was written while he was in exile against the Arians)
  • Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei, an allegorical exegesis of the first Gospel
  • De Synodis (On the Synods) – written in preparation for the Council of Seleucia 
  • Tractatus super Psalmos – Expositions of the Psalms
  • Liber II ad Constantium imperatorem, the Liber in Constantium inperatoremContra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem liber – all historical works

Some consider Hilary as the first Latin Christian hymn writer, because St. Jerome said Hilary produced a liber hymnorum

His Death

Around November 1, 368, Hilary died in Poitiers, France. He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1851 by Blessed Pope Pius IX and his feast day is on celebrated on January 13.

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:         January 13

Patron Saint:    Against Rheumatism, Against Snakes and Snake Bites



Saint Hilary discovered the power, joy, and truth of Scripture. He was exiled for arguing to ensure that the Nicene Creed was understood and adhered to throughout the Church.

Do you take time to let God’s Word speak to you through Scripture reflection? Schedule some time each day to spend with the Good News. Pray for help to become a more faithful follower of Christ.

Source: Saint Hilary of Poitiers (c.315-368) | Saint Mary’s Press (


Saint Hilary of Poitiers, instead of being discouraged by your exile, you used your time to study and write. Help us to bring good out of suffering and isolation in our own lives and see adversity as an opportunity to learn about or share our faith.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers, pray for us. Amen.

Source: ALL SAINTS: Saint Hilary of Poitiers (

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Thank God this year with the Church’s own special hymn of thanksgiving

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Anastpaul – Saint of the Day – 13 January – St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) Father & Doctor of the Church

Angelus News – Saint of the Day: Hilary of Poitiers

Catholic Culture – St Hilary

Catholic Fire – St. Hilary: Heroic Defender of the Faith

Catholic Ireland – St Hilary of Poitiers (315-368)

Catholic News Agency – St. Hilary of Poiters – Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Independent Catholic News – St. Hilary of Poiters

Loyola Press – Saint Hilary

My Catholic Life – Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Bishop and Doctor, c. 310–c. 367

New Advent – St. Hilary of Poiters from Catholic Encyclopedia

Saint Mary Press – Saint Hilary of Poitiers (c.315-368)

Saint of the Day – Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Saint Resources – Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Wikipedia – Hilary of Poitiers

Video Link

St. Hilary of Poiters – YouTube (Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network – USA)