St Hilary of Poitiers

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Bishop of Poitiers. Born in 315, to wealthy pagan parents, Hilary became an orator, married and had a daughter, Afra.

After a long process of study, he became a Christian in 350 and devoted the rest of his life to the Church. In 353 he was chosen as bishop. St Hilary was an outspoken champion of orthodoxy against the Arian heresy. He took part in the Synod of Bitterae in 356 and the council of Selucia in 359. He was exiled to Phrygia under the Emperor Constantius from 356-360. In 364 he successfully refuted the arguments of the Arian Bishop of Milan Auxentius.

St Hilary was described by his contemporaries as gentle, courteous and friendly. His principle writings are De Trinitate - a treatise against the Arian beliefs, De Synodis, and Commentaries on the Psalms and St Matthew's Gospel.

His feast begins the terms for some law courts and universities. Three churches are dedicated to him in England. He was named a Doctor of the Church by Pius IX in 1851.