Saint Hilary of Poitiers

statue of Saint Hilaire of Poitier; by Franz Anton Koch, 1742; Saint Michael parish church, Mondsee, Upper Austria; photgraphed on 11 May 2009 by Wolfgang Sauber; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsAlso known as

  • Athanasius of the West
  • Doctor of the Divinity of Christ
  • Hammer against Arianism
  • Ilario di Poitiers
  • Malleus Arianorum



Born to wealthy polytheistic, pagan nobility, Hilary’s early life was uneventful as he married, had children (including Saint Abra), and studied on his own. Through his studies he came to believe in salvation through good works, then monotheism. As he studied the Bible for the first time, he literally read himself into the faith, and was converted by the end of the New Testament.

Hilary lived the faith so well he was made bishop of Poitiers, France from 353 to 368. Hilary opposed the emperor’s attempt to run Church matters, and was exiled; he used the time to write works explaining the faith. His teaching and writings converted many, including Saint Florence of Poitiers, and in an attempt to reduce his notoriety he was returned to the small town of Poitiers where his enemies hoped he would fade into obscurity. His writings continued to convert pagans.

He introduced Eastern theology to the Western Church, fought Arianism with the help of Saint Viventius, and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1851.



  • 368 of natural causes






To those who wish to stand in God’s grace, neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting. Saint Hilary, Commentary on the Psalms

When I look at your heavens, according to my own lights, with these weak eyes of mine, I am certain with reservation that they are your heavens. The stars circle in the heavens, reappear year after year, each with a function and service to fulfill. And though I do not understand them, I know that you, O God, are in them. Saint Hilary

Lord, I pray Thee let not my weakness distract me, but let my speech be of that alone in which the salvation of my soul consists; and let me never break forth to that degree both of folly and wickedness, as to wish to be a judge of Thy omnipotence, and of Thy sacraments; and suffer me not to exalt my weak opinion above either the divine determination of Thy infinity, or that belief of Thy eternity which has been revealed to me. Amen. Saint Hilary

Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill-will, bad temper, arrogance and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility, we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones. Saint Hilary

We have been promised, and he who made the promise is trustworthy: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Yes, in our poverty we will pray for our needs. We will study the sayings of your prophets and apostles with unflagging attention, and knock for admittance wherever the gift of understanding is safely kept. But yours it is, Lord, to grant our petitions, to be present when we seek you and to open when we knock. Impart to us, then, the meaning of the words of Scripture and the light to understand it, with reverence for the doctrine and confidence in its truth. Grant that we may express what we believe. Through the prophets and apostles we know about you, the one God the Father, and the one Lord Jesus Christ. May we have the grace, the face of heretics who deny you, to honor you as God, who is not alone, and to proclaim this as truth. – from a sermon on the Trinity by Saint Hilary

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Hilary of Poitiers“. CatholicSaints.Info. 21 September 2021. Web. 21 January 2022. <>