Popes in a Year
#46 - Pope St. Hilarius
Pope from 461-468 A.D.
Died: 468 A.D.
aka "Hilary" or "Hilarus"
Give me the scoop on Hilarius.
St. Hilarius was elected shortly after the death of St. Leo, having first served as a deacon and being a native of Sardinia. His papacy was wrapped up in handling big-time political disorganization in Gaul and Spain, writing encyclicals on various church disciplines, and handling disputes in a handful of dioceses over things like who had permission to be bishop, what to do about the sale of church properties, etc.
In any case, most of what Hilarius did was rather mundane, and very UN-hilarious. The venerable pope died February 28, 468 after reigning for six years, three months, and 10 days. His feast day is celebrated on November 17.
What was he known for?
During Hilarius’ time, the Macedonian heresy began growing in popularity in Rome. This particular belief, originating in Macedonia (surprise!), taught that the Holy Spirit was not in fact divine, and soon grabbed the attention of the emperor, Anthemius. When Anthemius, thanks to the encouragement of a heretic friend (Philotheus), started showing public favor for the heresy and encouraging Romans to do the same, St. Hilarius came unglued. Apparently, on one of Anthemius’ visits to St. Peter’s Basilica, Hilarius called out the emperor, exhorting him “by the grave of St. Peter, to do all in his power” to rein in the evil and account for his friend’s problematic beliefs.
St. Hilarius, when still a deacon, once had to flee for his life from the so-called “Robber Council” of Ephesus (a council that some wished to be an ecumenical council, but, due to the scandalousness of the proceedings and the coo-coo-for-Cocoa-Puffs nature of some of its decrees, was rejected by later councils).
After being elected pope, having credited his successful escape to St. John the Evangelist, Hilarius built a chapel dedicated to the Beloved Disciple. The chapel to St. John was one of two churches he’s is known to have built during his time as pope.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
The great statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which had just been moved to the city of Constantinople, was destroyed by a fire in 462.
Note: Two corrections were made on March 6, 2017. One: from "reign in" to "rein in"; Two: St. Hilarius' feast day is November 17, not February 28.
Coming tomorrow....Pope St. Simplicius
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Monday, March 6 at 2:00AM