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HILARIUS (HILARY), ST (c. 403-449)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 460 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HILARIUS (HILARY), ST (c. 403-449), bishop of Arles, was born about 403. In early youth he entered the abbey of Lerfhs, then presided over by his kinsman Honoratus (St Honore), and succeeded Honoratus in the bishopric of Arles in "429. Following the example of St 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 Easter. In the Inns of Court, Hilary is one of the four dining terms; it begins on the 11th of January and ends on the 1st of February. It is also the name of one of the terms at the universities of Oxford (more usually " Lent term ") and Dublin. which seemed implied in the vicariate granted to his predecessor church. He was probably a pupil of Berengarius of Tours, and became master (scholasticus) of the school at Le Mans; in 1091 he was made archdeacon and in 1096 bishop of Le Mans. He had to face the hostility of a section of his clergy and also of the English king, William II., who captured Le Mans and carried the bishop with him to England for about a year. Hildebert then travelled to Rome and sought permission to resign his bishopric, which Pope Paschal II. refused. In 1116 his diocese was thrown into great confusion owing to the preaching of Henry of Lausanne, who was denouncing the higher clergy, especially the bishop. Hildebert compelled him to leave the neighbourhood of Le Mans, but the effects of his preaching remained. In 1125 Hildebert was translated very unwillingly to the archbishopric of Tours, and there he came into conflict with the French king Louis VI. about the rights of ecclesiastical patronage and with the bishop of Dol about the authority of his see in Brittany. He presided over the synod of Nantes, and died at Tours probably on the 18th of December 1133. Hildebert, who built part of the cathedral at Le Mans, has received from some writers the title of saint, but there appears to be no authority for this. He was not a man of very strict life; his contemporaries, however, had a very high opinion of him and he was called egregius versificator. The extant writings of Hildebert consist of letters, poems, a few sermons, two lives and one or two treatises. An edition of his works prepared by the Maurist, Antoine Beaugendre, and entitled Venerabilis Hildeberti, primo Cenomannensis episcopi, deinde Turonensis archiepiscopi, opera tam edita quam inedita, was published in Paris in 17o8 and was reprinted with additions by J. J. Bourasse in 1854. These editions, however, are very faulty. They credit Hildebert with numerous writings which are the work of others, while some genuine writings are omitted. The revelation of this fact has affected Hildebert's position in the history of medieval thought. His standing as a philosopher rested upon his supposed authorship of the important Tractatus theologicus; but this is now regarded as the work of Hugh of St Victor, and consequently Hildebert can hardly be counted among the philosophers. His genuine writings include many letters. These Epistolae enjoyed great popularity in the 12th and 13th centuries, and were frequently used as classics in the schools of France and Italy. Those which concern the struggle between the emperor Henry V. and Pope Paschal II. have been edited by E. Sackur and printed in the Monumenta Germaniae historica. Libelli de lice ii. (1893). His poems, which deal with various subjects, are disfigured by many defects of style and metre, but they too were very popular. Hildebert attained celebrity also as a preacher both in French and Latin, but only a few of his sermons are in existence, most of the 144 attributed to him by his editors being the work of Peter Lombard and others. The Vitae written by Hildebert are the lives of Hugo, abbot of Cluny, and of St Radegunda. Undoubtedly genuine is also his Liber de querimonia et conftictu carnis et spiritus seu animae. Hildebert was an excellent Latin scholar, being acquainted with Cicero, Ovid and other authors, and his spirit is rather that of a pagan than of a Christian writer. Patroclus (417). Hilarius deposed the bishop of Besancon (Chelidonus), for ignoring this primacy, and for claiming a metropolitan dignity for Besancon. 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 over-sight 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 (Novellae Valent. iii. tit. 16). 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 (Vita S. Honorati Arelatensis episcopi and Metrum in Genesin) compare favourably with any similar literary productions of that period. A poem, De providentia, usually included among the writings of Prosper, is sometimes attributed to Hilary of Arles.
End of Article: HILARIUS (HILARY), ST (c. 403-449)
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