Science of the Saints, 21 October, Saint Hilarion The Great

The Monk Hilarion the Great was born in the year 291 in the Palestinian village of Tabath. He was sent for study to Alexandria, where he became acquainted with Christianity and accepted holy Baptism. 

Hearing an account of the angelic life of the Monk Anthony the Great, Hilarion set out to him, in order to study that which is pleasing to God. Hilarion soon returned to his native land. His parents had already died. 

Having distributed his familial inheritance to the poor, Hilarion set out into the wilderness surrounding he city of Maium. The monk struggled intensely with impure thoughts, vexations of the mind, and the burning of the flesh, defeating them with heavy toil, fasting, and fervent prayer.

The devil sought to terrorise the saint with phantoms and apparitions. During times of prayer Saint Hilarion heard children crying, women wailing, and the growling of lions and other wild beasts. The monk perceived that it was the demons causing these terrors, in order to drive him away from the wilderness, and therefore he overcame his fear with the help of fervent prayer. 

One time robbers fell upon the Monk Hilarion, and he by the power of his words persuaded them to forsake the life of crime.

Soon all Palestine learned about the holy ascetic. The Lord vouchsafed to the Monk Hilarion the power to cast out unclean spirits. With this graced gift he loosed the bounds of many of the afflicted. The sick came for healing, and the monk cured them free of charge, saying, that the grace of God is not for sale. By means of smell the saint learned with which passion this or that man was afflicted. And they came to the Monk Hilarion wanting to save their soul under his guidance. With the blessing of the Monk Hilarion, monasteries began to spring up throughout all of Palestine. Going from one monastery to another, he set in them a strict ascetic manner of life. About seven years before his death (+ 371-372) the Monk Hilarion resettled to Cyprus, where he asceticised in a solitary place, until the Lord summoned him to Himself.

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