St. Hilarion the Great (~371 AD)

Memory Celebrated on October 21

St. Hilarion was an abbot and monastic pioneer of Palestine. He studied at Alexandria, where he became a Christian. He visited St. Antony, then at the height of his fame, but returned to Palestine, found his parents were dead, gave all his belongings to his brothers and to the poor, and became a hermit at Majuma in about 306 AD. His regime was based on St. Antony's: he lived on figs, bread, vegetables, and oil. First, he made a shelter of reeds, later a very small cell. Disciples came to learn from him and large crowds were attracted to him by his austerities and miracles. For the sake of his monks he had come to own household goods and a farm. To escape these responsibilities and the crowds, he left Palestine, first for Egypt, then for Sicily (where his disciple St. Hesychius found him), and eventually for Epidaurus in Dalmatia. Once more his miracles attracted publicity and he fled to Cyprus. He settled near Paphos, but later retired to a more remote site about 20 km away, where Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, visited him.

St. Hilarion died at the age of eighty. He was buried near Paphos, but his relics were translated to Majuma.

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