Encyclopedia Britannica – Saint Hilarius

image of Saint Hilary of Arles from an 14th century manuscriptArticle

Saint Hilarius (Hilary), (c.403–449), bishop of Arles, was born about 403. In early youth he entered the abbey of Lérins, then presided over by his kinsman Honoratus (Saint Honoré), and succeeded Honoratus in the bishopric of Arles in 429. Following the example of Saint Augustine, he is said to have organized his cathedral clergy into a “congregation,” devoting a great part of their time to social exercises of ascetic religion. He held the rank of metropolitan of Vienne and Narbonne, and attempted to realize the sort of primacy over the church of south Gaul which seemed implied in the vicariate granted to his predecessor Patroclus (417). Hilarius deposed the bishop of Besançon (Chelidonus), for ignoring this primacy, and for claiming a metropolitan dignity for Besançon. An appeal was made to Rome, and Leo I used it to extinguish the Gallican vicariate (A.D. 444). Hilarius was deprived of his rights as metropolitan to consecrate bishops, call synods, or exercise ecclesiastical oversight in the province, and the pope secured the edict of Valentinian III, so important in the history of the Gallican church, “ut episcopis Gallicanis omnibusque pro lege esset quidquid apostolicae sedis auctoritas sanxisset.” The papal claims were made imperial law, and violation of them subject to legal penalties. Hilarius died in 449, and his name was afterwards introduced into the Roman martyrology for commemoration on the 5th of May. He enjoyed during his lifetime a high reputation for learning and eloquence as well as for piety; his extant works compare favourably with any similar literary productions of that period.

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Hilarius”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911. CatholicSaints.Info. 18 January 2020. Web. 11 May 2021. <>