Today is the feast of Saint Hilary of Poitiers (310-367), Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who was such a brilliant foe of the fourth century heresy that denied the divinity of Christ he is known as the Malleus Arianorum, the Hammer of the Arians. The main part of his life follows upon the Council of Nicaea in 325 which condemned the Arian heresy by declaring Christ to be homo-ousois (consubstantial), of the ‘same being’ as the Father. The heresy did not die with the Council, but ironically flourished under the successors of Emperor Constantine, all of them imbued to some degree with its pernicious beliefs, which would have destroyed Christianity in its very infancy. Hilary was a great proponent of the orthodox teaching of Nicaea, defending Christ’s total equality with the Father from all eternity, as God from God and Light from Light, True God from True God, not made but eternally begotten, in his De Trinitate and other works, some written in his exiles. Following Saint John’s teaching, Hilary declared that the central doctrine of the Antichrist will be to deny Christ’s divinity, replacing Him with another god:
Hence also they who deny that Christ is the Son of God must have Antichrist for their Christ
Hmm. Sounds sort of familiar, but everything old is new again, and we could do with a few more Hilarys in the Church. The good bishop also supported Martin of Tours in founding his own monastery, thus signifying that saints produce saints, and holiness, like the hilarity from which Hilary got his name, is in the best sense of the term, infectious. Would that we would all catch a bit of his intrepid spirit.
Sancte Hilare, ora pro nobis!