Saint Hilarion, the Great

Today, October 21rst, we celebrate the feast day of Saint Hilarion.

Saint Hilarion, the Great was one of the fathers of the desert and an anchorite. It is known that he spent most of his life in the desert, following the example of Anthony the Great. While St Anthony is considered to have established Christian monasticism in the Egyptian desert, St Hilarion is considered by some to be the founder of Palestinian monasticism. Saint Hilarion venerated the holy places in Jerusalem, then settled in a cave in the Jordan wilderness (according to tradition, the holy prophet Elijah had dwelt in that same cave).

He is venerated as a saint by the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church. The venerable Hilarion was born in the village of Tabatha, which is in Palestine near the city of Gaza.

During his lifetime, Saint Hilarion, the great, was known because of his Thaumaturgic powers. Thaumaturgy is the purported capability to work magic or other paranormal events or a saint to perform miracles.

But his healing powers did not consort only for Humans but also animals. It is said that he healed many people and expelled and exorcised many devils.
“ Brute animals were also daily brought to him in a state of madness, and among them a Bactrian camel of enormous size amid the shouts of thirty men or more who held him tight with stout ropes. He had already injured many. His eyes were bloodshot, his mouth filled with foam, his rolling tongue swollen, and above every other source of terror was his loud and hideous roar.

Well, the old man ordered him to be let go. At once, those who brought him as well as the attendants of the saint fled away without exception. The saint went by himself to meet him, and addressing him in Syriac, said, You do not alarm me, devil, huge though your present body is. Whether in a fox or a camel, you are just the same. Meanwhile, he stood with an outstretched hand.

The brute raging and looking as if he would devour Hilarion came up to him but immediately fell down, laid its head on the ground, and to the amazement of all presents showed suddenly no less tameness than it had exhibited. Ferocity before.”

From: The Life of Our Holy Monastic Father Saint Hilarion the Great
THE GREAT COLLECTION OF THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS
COMPILED BY ST. DEMETRIUS OF ROSTOV

Monasteries were established throughout Palestine with Saint Hilarion’s blessing. All the monks would come to him to hear his instructions.

One time hearing that Saint Anthony had a serious accident, Saint Hilarion rushed to assist him. Despite his own illness, using a half-broken chariot and tired and sick horses. With his blessings, the horses were known to almost fly.

You May Like to read more stories about the Fathers of the Desert

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