World

HILARY OF ARLES

Circa 400 – 449

5/3/2018

This French aristocrat, a pagan holding high office in a local government, was converted to Catholicism by his relative, St. Honoratus, and became a monk at Lerins. An austere and strict monastic, Hilary succeeded Honoratus as bishop of Arles when he was just 29. As bishop, he preached notably, donated his earnings from manual labor to the poor, ransomed captives by selling sacred vessels, and built and visited monasteries in his diocese. But he got into trouble by claiming metropolitan jurisdiction over other bishops and tried to depose one who appealed to the pope. As pope, St. Leo the Great restricted Hilary’s authority, but later recalled him “of blessed memory,” perhaps signaling a reconciliation before Hilary’s death.  

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