Monday, January 13, 2014

A different Hilary

     When speaking of Hilary in our world today you would quickly think in the realms of politics and well known people of Hilary Clinton.  But the Church today honors another Hilary, this one not current, not nationally or internationally well known, and not a politician.  The Church's Hilary is a man ... and a Saint of God.  The Church's Hilary lived long ago (in the early to mid 300's) and served as the bishop of Poitiers in France.  He was a defender of the Faith, especially against the heresy of Arianism that was rampant at the time.  He was even known as the "hammer against Arianism" and the "Athanasius of the West" (Athanasius was the great opponent of Arianism in the Eastern Church).

     His journey to prominence was interesting as well.  Born at the beginning of the 4th century in Poitiers, he was well educated, married with a daughter, and of a prominent pagan family.  His study of the classics introduced him to the Scriptures which introduced him to Christ.  He and his family were baptized into the Church and were so impressive in their living of the Faith that when the bishop of Poitiers died, Hilary was elected by the people to serve as their bishop.  It was during that time that he fought against the Arian heresy, which basically declared that Jesus was not divine but was created by the Father and thus not equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit.  That is an entire theology course in itself.  The Collect of today's feast reminds us that Hilary taught with constancy the divinity of Christ and asks the Father that "we may rightly understand and truthfully profess" that divine nature of Christ in our lives.

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