Hillary of Poitiers (c.315-368)
Hillary was born to well off pagan parents in the city of Poitiers. Unusual for his time, in addition to having a good education in Latin, he also studied Greek. Because of knowing Greek he was exposed to the scriptures, and came to know Jesus, and to know who he was, a son of the living God.
Married and the father of one daughter, Hillary was elected by the Christians of Poitiers as Bishop in 353 (Celibacy was not a requirement for many more years). Embroiled in arguments about Arians and removing Arian Bishops, Hillary was exiled to Phrygia. Not one to waste his time, he visited the churches in the area and studied scriptures and put his time to good use. After four years he was sent back to Poitiers because the emperor (an Arian) said “he was a troublemaker and sower of discord, and disturber of the orient.” (In other words, Hillary was gaining ground against the Arians through his preaching.) Hillary took a leisurely trip through Greece and Italy preaching against the Arians as he went.
Hillary wrote several works against the Arians, and several works on the Trinity and on the two natures of Christ. He also brought back hymns from the east, translating them and wrote some of his own compositions. He is regarded as the father of Western hymnody, and also known as the Athanasius of the west. One of his disciples was St. Martin of Tours. Hillary died peacefully in 368, possibly on the 13th of January.
(In passing: Arians did not believe that Jesus was God. They believed he was a higher creation than man, but beneath God. Today the Jehovah’s Witnesses are an example of Arianism)
Collect: Dear Lord, as Hillary of Poitiers stood against heresy, and defended the true faith, help us also to stand against heresy that we may always stand for truth. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)
Readings for the Eucharist If no celebration of the Eucharist, follow the normal readings for Matins and Vespers.
1 John 2:18-25