Pray with Today's Saint

St. Hilary, pope

2/28/2015

St. Hilary was pope for seven years in the fifth century and was known for safeguarding Church unity in a time of great disagreement.

He was born in Italy and served as an aide to Pope Leo I, who preceded him as pope and sent him on many official assignments. One of those assignments was to attend a council that was held in Ephesus without official approval. His task was to report on a heresy being discussed there—the denial of Christ’s humanity. This heresy was already condemned by an earlier council, and the followers of this erroneous belief physically attacked Hilary and his delegation. They barely escaped and returned to Rome.

When Pope Leo died, Hilary was elected bishop of Rome. As pope, he did much to strengthen the Church, especially in France and Spain. He was known for defending the rights of bishops, while urging them to greater faithfulness and less luxury. He established the pope, not the emperor, as the leader in spiritual matters, and rebuilt many churches in Rome, renovated the Lateran Basilica, and constructed a number of convents and libraries. He died on this date in 468, and his image is used here with permission from Catholic.org.

St. Hilary, the pope who helped build the Church and fought for unity, pray for us!