Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hilarion of Gaza

was born of a Pagan family at Thabatha, Gaza in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. He studied rhetoric in Alexandria and was there converted to Christianity. After that, he shunned the pleasures of his day and spent his time attending church. According to St. Jerome, he was a thin and delicate youth of fragile health.

After hearing of Saint Anthony, Hilarion, at the age of fifteen, went to live with him in the desert for two months. As Anthony's hermitage was busy with visitors seeking cures for diseases or demonic affliction, Hilarion returned home along with some monks. At Thabatha, his parents having died in the meantime, he gave his inheritance to his brothers and the poor and left for the wilderness.

Hilarion went into the desert, and built a little house, scarcely big enough to hold him, and wherein he was used to sleep on the ground. His food was a few figs and some porridge of vegetables, and this he ate not before set of sun, but his prayer was unceasing.

Till his time neither Syria nor Palestine knew of the monastic life, so that Hilarion was the founder of it therein, as Anthony had been in Egypt. He had built many monasteries, and become famous for miracles, so much so that he attracted attention similar to that of his mentor, Anthony. Hilarion did not care for this new found attention and began to wander the Mediterranean region in search of solitude in which he could continue his devotions in solitude.

In the eightieth year of his age, while living in the hills of Cyprus, he fell sick. As he was gasping for his last breath, he said : Go out, my soul; what art thou afraid of? And so he gave up the ghost.

Propers for Hilarion of Gaza - Abbott

The Collect.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant Hilarion, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15

The Gospel - St. Matthew 6:24-33

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