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St. Hilary of Poitiers

January 13, 2022

The Ordination of Saint Hilary, from a 14th-century manuscript

St. Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Saint Hilary of Poitiers’ Story

This staunch defender of the divinity of Christ was a gentle and courteous man, devoted to writing some of the greatest theology on the Trinity, and was like his Master in being labeled a “disturber of the peace.” In a very troubled period in the Church, his holiness was lived out in both scholarship and controversy. He was bishop of Poitiers in France.

Raised a pagan, he was converted to Christianity when he met his God of nature in the Scriptures. His wife was still living when he was chosen, against his will, to be the bishop of Poitiers in France. He was soon taken up with battling what became the scourge of the fourth century, Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ.

The heresy spread rapidly. Saint Jerome said “The world groaned and marveled to find that it was Arian.” When Emperor Constantius ordered all the bishops of the West to sign a condemnation of Athanasius, the great defender of the faith in the East, Hilary refused and was banished from France to far off Phrygia. Eventually he was called the “Athanasius of the West.”

While writing in exile, he was invited by some semi-Arians (hoping for reconciliation) to a council the emperor called to counteract the Council of Nicea. But Hilary predictably defended the Church, and when he sought public debate with the heretical bishop who had exiled him, the Arians, dreading the meeting and its outcome, pleaded with the emperor to send this troublemaker back home. Hilary was welcomed by his people.


Christ said his coming would bring not peace but a sword (see Matthew 10:34). The Gospels offer no support for us if we fantasize about a sunlit holiness that knows no problems. Christ did not escape at the last moment, though he did live happily ever after—after a life of controversy, problems, pain and frustration. Hilary, like all saints, simply had more of the same.

Patronage: Against snakes and backward children

The Father’s Gift In Christ [by Saint Hilary of Poitiers, bishop]
St. Hilary of Poitiers
The Life and Writings of Saint Hilary of Poitiers[Bishop and Martyr]

Saint Hilary, Bishop and Doctor of the Church


Saint Hilary,
Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Optional Memorial
January 13th

St. Hilary of Poitiers, Father of the Church of the West, Doctor of ...


Saint Hilary of Poitiers (315-368) was a leading defender of the Church against the Arian heresy. He wrote twelve books about the Holy Trinity as well as commentaries on St. Matthew’s Gospel and the Psalms.

Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we may rightly understand and truthfully profess
the divinity of your Son,
which the Bishop Saint Hilary taught with such constancy.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: 1 John 2:18-25
Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what He has promised us, eternal life.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-19
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Related Link on Vatican Website: Benedict XVI, General Audience, Saint Peter’s Square, Wednesday, October 10, 2007, Saint Hilary of Poitiers

Related Links on New Advent Website:
St. Hilary ..

On the Councils, or the Faith of the Easterns
On the Trinity
Homilies on the Psalms


Information: St. Hilary of Poitiers

Feast Day: January 13

Born: 300, Poitiers

Died: 368, Poitiers

January 13 2021


Memorial of St. Hilary of Poitiers

Poitiers Cathedral, Poitiers, France

Lectionary 307

Readings at Mass

Liturgical Colour: Green.

First reading

Hebrews 2:14-18 ©

He took to himself descent from Abraham

Since all the children share the same blood and flesh, Christ too shared equally in it, so that by his death he could take away all the power of the devil, who had power over death, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death. For it was not the angels that he took to himself; he took to himself descent from Abraham. It was essential that he should in this way become completely like his brothers so that he could be a compassionate and trustworthy high priest of God’s religion, able to atone for human sins. That is, because he has himself been through temptation he is able to help others who are tempted.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 104(105):1-4,6-9 ©

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.



Give thanks to the Lord, tell his name,

  make known his deeds among the peoples.

O sing to him, sing his praise;

  tell all his wonderful works!

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.



Be proud of his holy name,

  let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice.

Consider the Lord and his strength;

  constantly seek his face.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.



O children of Abraham, his servant,

  O sons of the Jacob he chose.

He, the Lord, is our God:

  his judgements prevail in all the earth.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.



He remembers his covenant for ever,

  his promise for a thousand generations,

the covenant he made with Abraham,

  the oath he swore to Isaac.

The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.



Gospel Acclamation


Alleluia, alleluia!

Let the message of Christ, in all its richness,

find a home with you;

through him give thanks to God the Father.




Alleluia, alleluia!

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice,

says the Lord,

I know them and they follow me.



Mark 1:29-39 ©

He cast out devils and cured many who were suffering from disease

On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.

  That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

  In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

The readings on this page are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world. The New American Bible readings, which are used at Mass in the United States, are available in the Universalis apps, programs and downloads.

You can also view this page with the Gospel in Greek and English.

Jesus heals the ill

Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max (1840–1915)


January 13, 2022
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