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St. Hilary of Poitiers

IV Century
Born c. 315, St. Hilary was the son of wealthy pagans who was thoroughy educated in philosophy, especially that of the Neo-Platonists, before his conversion to Christianity c. 350. Hilary, although married, was elected bishop of Poitiers c. 353. Emperor Constantius II exiled him for refusing to condemn Athanasius at the Arian-dominated Council of Béziers (356). In Phrygia, Hilary studied Greek theology and wrote De trinitate (On the Trinity), which introduced Eastern theology to the Western church. Returned to his see in 360, Hilary travelled four years later to Milan to debate its Arian bishop, Auxentius. Hilary neither converted nor ousted him. Hilary, who died c. 367/368, was also a hymnographer. He wrote songs to proclaim his theology, as he had learned in the east and as he had seen the Arians do. Among Hilary's other works are De synodis, a history of the Arian debates, and commentary on the Psalms and Matthew. Hilary's exegetical style is Antiochene and often follows Origen's. Pius IX named Hilary, whose style and thought Augustine and Jerome praised, a doctor of the Roman Catholic church.

Karen Rae Keck


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