On this mid-January day, the 13th thereof, we celebrate Saint Hilary (+367), Bishop of Poitiers, proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851 for his clear and incisive writings against the pernicious heresy of Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ, a heresy which would in turn have dissolved the Church (and very nearly did so, as the near-contemporary Saint Jerome would soon lament). With his contemporary, Athanasius in the East, Hilary is considered one of the most pre-eminent theologian of the fourth century in the West, laying the foundation for the full doctrine of the Trinity and of Christ, as well as the theologies of Augustine, Athanasius, the Council of Nicaea and on into the Middle Ages and the modern era, the whole ‘living Tradition’ of the Church.
He did much in his brief life (going to his reward at the tender age of 52), raising a family, converting to the faith after reading the Bible, raised to the episcopacy, standing firm in the truth, writing a whole corpus of profound theology, suffering exile for his teachings (a much more serious punishment then than now). Returning to his diocese, Hilary was a living martyr for the faith, but, we may presume from his name, joyful all the while, a joy that the world could not give.
Mungo’s Tomb in his cathedral in Glasgow, Scotland