Pope Hilarius

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Pope Saint Hilarius (also Hilarus, Hilary) was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 461 to February 28, 468. He was canonized as a saint after his death.

The Sardinian archdeacon of Rome, Hilarius was elected bishop of Rome probably November 17, 461, and was consecrated November 19, 461 and died on February 28 (?), 468.

As archdeacon under Pope Leo I he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and vigorously opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 to settle the question of Eutyches. According to a letter to the Empress Pulcheria, collected among the letter of Leo I, Hilarius apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod; but owing to Dioscurus of Alexandria, who tried to hinder his going either to Rome or to Constantinople, he had great difficulty in making his escape in order to bring to the pontiff the news of the result of the council.[1]

As Pope, he continued the policy of his predecessor Leo who, in his contest with Hilary of Arles, had obtained from Valentinian III a famous rescript (445) confirming the supremacy of the bishop of Rome. Hilarius continued to strengthen papal control over episcopal discipline. At Narbonne, Hermes, a former archdeacon, had been nominated by his predecessor and installed as bishop without the express sanction of Pope Leo. Hilarius convoked a synod in 462, which confirmed Hermes as titular bishop, withholding his faculties as metropolitan (Wace). Other decisions expressed in an encyclical were in the interests of increased discipline: A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from his metropolitan, with a right of appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius, bishop of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale.[1]

Shortly after this the Pope found himself involved in another diocesan quarrel. In 463 Mamertus of Vienne had consecrated a Bishop of Die, although this Church, by a decree of Leo I, belonged to the metropolitan Diocese of Arles. When Hilarius heard of it, he deputed Leontius of Arles to summon a great synod of the bishops of several provinces to investigate the matter. The synod took place and, on the strength of the report given him by Bishop Antonius, he issued an edict dated February 25, 464, in which Bishop Veranus was commissioned to warn Mamertus that, if in the future he did not refrain from irregular ordinations, his faculties would be withdrawn. Consequently the consecration of the Bishop of Die must be sanctioned by Leontius of Arles. Thus the primatial privileges of the See of Arles were upheld as Leo I had defined them. At the same time the bishops were admonished not to overstep their boundaries, and to assemble in a yearly synod presided over by the Bishop of Arles. The metropolitan rights of the See of Embrun also over the dioceses of the Maritime Alps were protected against the encroachments of a certain Bishop Auxanius, particularly in connection with the two Churches of Nice and Cimiez.[1]

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