Hilarion, St

Hilarion, St.

of Palestine, was born near Gaza about 291. He had been a heathen, but at Alexandria he frequented the Christian schools, and was baptized there in 306. The accounts of him, which abound in incredible stories, are to the following purport: Returning home in 307, he gave away all he had, and retired to a desert near Magum, not far from Gaza, where he led a strictly ascetic life. His protracted fasts and religious exercises gained him the reputation of a saint, and attracted a large number of disciples. When their numbers became too great, he formed colonies of them in various parts of Palestine and Syria, and thus established several monasteries, which he continued to visit and govern. Having gone to Alexandria for the anniversary of the death of St. Anthony, he was on his return reputed to work miracles, such as producing rain, ridding the country of snakes, etc. An attempt having been made against his life by the inhabitants of Gaza, Hilarion retired to Libya, and afterwards to Sicily, but his miracles everywhere betrayed him(!). He afterwards went to Epidaurus (now Raguse), in Dalmatia, where the legend says he prevented an inundation of the town. To avoid the popularity this miracle had gained him, he embarked secretly for Cyprus with his disciple Hesychius, and hid himself in the neighborhood of Paphos. Here again he was discovered, and from all sides' they brought sick people to him, whom he cured by the laying on of hands. He died in the island in 371, and his remains, brought back to Palestine by Hesychius, were buried near Magum. The Roman Catholic Church commemorates him on the 21st of October. See Jerome, Vita Hilarioni; Sozomen, Hist. Eccles. lib. 3:cap. 14; lib. 5, cap. 9; Baillet, Vies des Saints, vol. 3:21 Oct.; Richard et Geraud, Biblioth. Sacr.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 24, 666; Taylor, Ancient Christianity, 1, 308, 309; Neander, Ch. Hist. vol. 2; Fuhrmann, Handwörterb. d. KirchenGesch. s.v.; Tillemont, Mèm. 8, 987.

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