Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Patron of: Backward children, Snake bites

Celebrated: 13. January



Full biography:

Born to wealthy pagan nobility, Hilary’s early life was uneventful as he married, had children (including Saint Abra), and studied on his own. Through his studies he came to believe in salvation through good works, then monotheism. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted by the end of the New Testament. So great was the respect in which he was held by the citizens of Poitiers that about 353, although still a married man, he was unanimously elected bishop. At that time Arianism was threatening to overrun the Western Church; to repel the disruption was the great task which Hilary undertook. He continued to govern his diocese, while he found leisure for the preparation of two of the most important of his contributions to dogmatic and polemical theology. The later years of his life were spent in comparative quiet, devoted in part to the preparation of his expositions of the Psalms. St. Hilary holds the highest rank among the Latin writers of his century before St. Ambrose. Designated already by Augustine of Hippo as "the illustrious doctor of the churches", he, by his works, exerted an increasing influence in later centuries; and by Pope Pius IX he was formally recognized as universae ecclesiae doctor (i.e., Doctor of the Church) in 1851.


Father, keep us from vain strife of words. Grant to us constant profession of the Truth! Preserve us in a true and undefiled faith so that we may hold fast to that which we professed when we were baptized in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that we may have Thee for our Father, that we may abide in Thy Son and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen