Hilarion

c.291-371. Eastern ascetic. Born of pagan parents at Thabatha, near Gaza, he was educated at Alexandria and there converted to Christianity. For a time he was a disciple of Antony in the Egyptian desert, but soon returned to Palestine, to the desert south of Majoma, where he continued to practice the ascetic life which he had adopted in Egypt. Jerome traces the origin of the practice of the ascetic life in Palestine to Hilarion. The fame of his sanctity soon spread. He gathered disciples and organized them into societies. He also exercised an influence over the nomadic Arab tribes that came into contact with him. But his fame interfered with his life as a hermit and he returned to Egypt about 356. Some years later Julian's police forced him to flee further afield. He stayed in Sicily and Dalmatia and finally at Paphos in Cyprus. There he enjoyed the company of his disciples Hesychius and Epiphanius. He died there, and his body was taken by Hesychius back to Majoma.