Hilary of Arles

401-449. Bishop of Arles. Born of noble family and educated in philosophy and rhetoric, he was persuaded to renounce secular society for the solitude of Lérins by its founder, Honoratus, his kinsman. When Honoratus became bishop of Arles in 426, Hilary accompanied him there and succeeded him two years later. He presided over the councils of Riez (439), Orange (441), and Vaison (442). The canons of Riez and Orange are concerned mainly with discipline. The seventh canon of Riez is concerned with the rights of the bishop of Arles which Hilary was most energetic to further, howbeit from no selfish motives. He remained an ascetic throughout his episcopate, but he came into conflict with Leo, who was equally energetic in furthering the rights of the bishop of Rome.

At a council at Vienne in 444, Hilary deposed Chelidonius, bishop of Besançon. When the latter appealed to Rome, Hilary went there to defend his decision. Leo, however, reversed that decision, depriving Hilary of his metropolitical rights. A rescript was obtained against him from Valentinian III which also ordered provincial governors to enforce obedience to the bishop of Rome. Of his remaining years little is known. It is evident from the letters of Prosper and another Hilary that while he was a great admirer of Augustine, Hilary did not accept Augustine's teaching on predestination. From this, and from his respect for Faustus of Riez, we must regard Hilary as a semi-Pelagian.* Fragments of his works were collected in editions of Leo's works by P. Quesnel (1675) and P. and H. Ballerini (1753-57; rep. J.P. Migne, Patrologia Latina, 1, pp. 1213-92, with additions).