Hilary of Poitiers


January 24, 2022

Hilary of Poitiers (Poitiers, c. 310 - Poitiers, 367) was a Roman bishop and theologian; he was Bishop of Pictavium (now Poitiers), theologian, philosopher and writer. He is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion and has been proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of the city of Parma and the town of Nus.


Coming from a Gallo-Roman aristocratic family, Hilary was immediately attracted to philosophy. He was married and the father of a little girl named Abra, when the religious of his community acclaimed him Bishop of Pictavium in 353. He took under his protection Martin, future Bishop of Tours. Still not very familiar with the problems of faith, he only discovered the symbol of Nicaea in 354. He was present at the synod of Béziers in 356, following which he was sent into exile in Phrygia by the emperor Constantius II. In the following five years he was able to deepen the thought of the Eastern fathers, and he wrote his most famous work On the Trinity (De Trinitate). He attended the council of Seleucia in Isauria in 359, where he achieved unity between the supporters of the Nicene symbol and those who claimed that Christ was similar in substance to the Father.


The Catholic and Anglican Churches remember him on January 13, his dies natalis, but he was inscribed in the Roman Martyrology on January 14, a date still honored in the Tridentine mass. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851. The cult of Hilary of Poitiers was particularly popular in his hometown, so much so that Calvin recalled how two bodies of the saint were venerated in Poitiers, one of which was destroyed in 1562 by the Huguenots; other bodies were already shown in the Middle Ages in Puy-en-Velay and Wallers, while parts of the same in Reims, Parma and Toledo.


Some exegetical and theological writings and some hymns of Hilary have been preserved. De Trinitate where he defends the consubstantiality of the "Son" with the "Father", in opposition to the Aryan idea. This work, based on Greek sources, remains original in the Latin world. Hymni, found in 1887, of doctrinal subject. Other works: Fragmenta historica Contra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem Contra Constantium Augustum Adversus Valentem et Ursacium Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei Tractatus super Psalmos (work greatly influenced by Origen). De Synodis De mysteriis His works were published by Erasmus of Rotterdam in Basel in 1523, 1526 and 1528.


(LA) Hilary of Poitiers, [Works], apud inclytam Basileam, in the Frobeniana workshop, 1523. (LA) Hilary of Poitiers, Tractatus mysteriorum, Romae, Ex Tipographia Pacis Philippi Cuggiani, 1887. Hilary of Poitiers, Parisian Anti-Arian Collection. Historical-theological dossier against Ursacio and Valente, Arian bishops, translation and notes by Fr. Giustiniani, introd. by L. Longobardo, New City, Rome, 2019. Dario Annunziata, Tuam sanctam religiosamque prudentiam. The legal-political guidelines of Constantius II in the light of the writings of Ilario di Poitiers, Giappichelli, Turin, 2020.

Related items

Jesus refulsit omnium - Hymn on the Nativity attributed to Hilary


Other projects

Wikisource contains a page dedicated to Hilary of Poitiers Wikisource contains a page in Latin language dedicated to Hilary of Poitiers Wikiquote contains quotes from or about Hilary of Poitiers Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files about Hilary of Poitiers

External links

Ilàrio di Poitiers, saint, on Treccani.it - ​​Online encyclopedias, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia. Mario Niccoli, ILARIO bishop of Poitiers, saint, doctor of the Church, in the Italian Encyclopedia, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia, 1933. Ilàrio di Poitiers, on Sapienza.it, De Agostini. (EN) Hilary of Poitiers, in Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (LA) Works by Ilario di Poitiers, on Musisque Deoque. Works by Hilary of Poitiers / Il

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