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Hilarion, St.


Fourth-century ascetic; b. Tabatha, southern Palestine, c. 291; d. Cyprus, c. 371. He was born of pagan parents,

studied with success under a grammarian at Alexandria, and became a Christian. The fame of St. anthony of egypt drew him into the wilderness, where he observed the way of life of that monastic founder. On his return to Palestine he inaugurated the eremitical life in the desert, some seven miles from Maiuma, near Gaza, on the road to Egypt. He progressed in self-conquest and the practice of virtue, and as time went on performed marvels. Through him many embraced the faith and many monasteries sprang up in Palestine, but little is known of their organization. Eventually his followers became so numerous that he sought solitude farther away and traveled to Egypt, Libya, Sicily, Dalmatia, and Cyprus, where he died. He has been especially venerated in Cyprus, Palestine, Venice, Pisa, and France. Much of the available knowledge of Hilarion comes from St. jerome, who wrote the vita (c. 391) on a basis of historical fact but embellished with rhetorical and legendary features. Jerome cites a letter of epiphanius that mentions Hilarion, and sozomen gives a short account of his life and names some of his companions (Histoire Ecclesiastique 3.14;5.10.15; 6.32).

Feast: Oct. 21.

Bibliography: Acta Sanctorum (Paris 1863) Oct. 9:1659. Synaxarium ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae. Propylaeum ad Acta sanctorum novembris, ed. h. delehaye (Brussels 1902) 153154, Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae ct mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 1:579580. Bibliotheca hagiographica Graeca, ed. f. halkin, 3 v. (Brussels 1957) l:751z756n. Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v. (Paris 187890) 23:3054, vita; tr. m. l. ewald in Early Christian Biographies (The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, ed. r. j. deferrari et al. 15; 1952) 241280. h. leclercq, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienneet de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq and h. i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 190753) 2.2:315758. p.t. camelot, Catholicisme 5:736. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 4:163165. r. aigrain, L'Hagiographie (Paris 1953). l. rÉau, Iconographie de l'art chrétien, 6 v. (Paris 195559) 3.2:649650.

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