Doctor of the Divinity of Christ- Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Patron saint against rheumatism, snakes and snake bites, and patron saint of children learning to walk and mothers

Hilary was born at Poitiers in what is now France in either the late 200’s or the early 300’s.  His parents were pagan.  His parents believed in education and Hilary studied Greek.  He later studied the Old and New Testament with his wife and his daughter.  His daughter is Saint Abra. The family was baptized and joined the Church when he was 35 years old. 

The Christians respected Hilary so much around 350 they elected him as their bishop. The heresy of Arianism was disrupting the Church.  The Arians did not believe that Christ was divine. Hilary fought against the Arianism heresy. The Arians had a lot of power. The Emperor Constantius was an Arian. This resulted in many persecutions in the Church. Hilary refused to support the persecution of Saint Athanasius. He didn’t know very much about the controversy with the Arians.  Hilary’s support of Saint Athanasius caused him to be exiled to the East.  Exiled means to send someone away from their country usually as punishment or for political reasons.

Hilary hadn’t known much about the Arians.  He supported Saint Athanasius because he didn’t like the way Saint Athanasius was being treated. After he was exiled, away from his home he didn’t have duties at home or in his duties as a bishop. He had much more time to study and write.  He learned everything he could about the Arians. He wrote books against the Arians and their thinking.  After three years the Emperor sent him back to Poitiers because the emperor was tired of dealing with the trouble Hilary’s writings were causing. 

No one told Hilary he had to go straight home. So he planned his trip home through Greece and Italy, so he could preach against the Arians on the way home.  On his way home he heard songs sung by Arians used as propaganda. Propaganda is often misleading information used to promote a specific point of view. When Hilary returned home he also began to write songs.  Some of his songs are the first with a known author. When the emperor Constantius died in 361 the persecutions ended.  Hilary died in 367 or 368 and was proclaimed a doctor of the Church in 1851.  He was also called The Athanasius of the West.

Saint Hilary wrote this about God’s love for us. “We have been raised up because He has stooped down to us.”