Monday, January 14, 2013

Sun, Jan 13, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Apostle, Isaiah 42, Psalms 29, Luke 3:15-16 , St Hilarius of Poitiers, Poitiers France, Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:1 Apostolic Tradition

Sunday, January 13, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Apostle, Isaiah 42, , Psalms 29 , Luke 3:15-16 , St Hilarius of Poitiers, Poitiers France, Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:1 Apostolic Tradition

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy New Year, Bonne Annee!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


January 02, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
 "Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God's will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God's love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you."

December 25, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Our Lady came with little Jesus in her arms and she did not give a message, but little Jesus began to speak and said : “I am your peace, live my commandments.” With a sign of the cross, Our Lady and little Jesus blessed us together.

December 2, 2012 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
Dear children, with motherly love and motherly patience anew I call you to live according to my Son, to spread His peace and His love, so that, as my apostles, you may accept God's truth with all your heart and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you. Then you will be able to faithfully serve my Son, and show His love to others with your life. According to the love of my Son and my love, as a mother, I strive to bring all of my strayed children into my motherly embrace and to show them the way of faith. My children, help me in my motherly battle and pray with me that sinners may become aware of their sins and repent sincerely. Pray also for those whom my Son has chosen and consecrated in His name. Thank you." 


Today's Word:  apostle   a·pos·tle  [uh-pos-uh l]

Origin: before 950; Middle English,  variant of apostel, apostol, Old English apostol  (compare Old Frisian apostol, Old High German apostol ( o ), German Apostel ) < Late Latin apostolus  < Greek apóstolos  literally, one who is sent out; akin to apostéllein  to send off; see apo-. Compare, with loss of initial unstressed a-, Middle English postle, postel, Old English postol  (> Old Norse postuli ) Old High German postul
1. any of the early followers of Jesus who carried the Christian message into the world.
2. ( sometimes initial capital letter  ) any of the original 12 disciples called by Jesus to preach the gospel: Simon Peter, the brothers James and John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot.
3. the first or the best-known Christian missionary in any region or country.
4. Eastern Church . one of the 70 disciples of Jesus.
5. the title of the highest ecclesiastical official in certain Protestant sects.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 29:1-4, 9-10

1 [Psalm Of David] Give Yahweh his due, sons of God, give Yahweh his due of glory and strength,
2 give Yahweh the glory due to his name, adore Yahweh in the splendour of holiness.
3 Yahweh's voice over the waters, the God of glory thunders; Yahweh over countless waters,
4 Yahweh's voice in power, Yahweh's voice in splendour;
9 Yahweh's voice convulses terebinths, strips forests bare. In his palace all cry, 'Glory!'
10 Yahweh was enthroned for the flood, Yahweh is enthroned as king for ever.


Today's Epistle -   Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7

1 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have sent my spirit upon him, he will bring fair judgement to the nations.
2 He does not cry out or raise his voice, his voice is not heard in the street;
3 he does not break the crushed reed or snuff the faltering wick. Faithfully he presents fair judgement;
4 he will not grow faint, he will not be crushed until he has established fair judgement on earth, and the coasts and islands are waiting for his instruction.
6 I, Yahweh, have called you in saving justice, I have grasped you by the hand and shaped you; I have made you a covenant of the people and light to the nations,
7 to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.


Today's Gospel Reading - Luke 3:15-16.21-22

The Baptism of Jesus and
his manifestation as the Son of God
Luke 3:15-16.21-22

1. Opening prayer

Lord, our God and our Father, grant us to know the mystery of the baptism of your Son. Grant that we may understand it as the Evangelist, Luke, understood it; as the early Christians understood it. Father, grant that we may contemplate the mystery of Jesus’ identity as you revealed it at his baptism in the waters of the Jordan and who is present in our baptism.

Lord Jesus, by listening to your word, teach us what it means to be children in You and with You. You are the true Christ because you teach us to be children of God as you are. Grant us a deep awareness of the action of the Spirit who invites us to listen to the word with docility and attention. 

Holy Spirit we ask you to calm our anxieties and fears so that we may become more free, simple and meek in listening to the voice of God who reveals himself in the word of Jesus Christ, our brother and redeemer. Amen!

2. Reading
a) A key to the reading:

The account of the baptism of Jesus, presented to us in this Sunday’s liturgy, invites us to meditate on it and touches on a crucial question concerning our faith: Who is Jesus? At the time of Jesus and throughout history, this question has been answered in infinite ways and these indicate the attempt of human beings and believers to understand better the mystery of the person of Jesus. However, in this meditative exercise of ours, we wish to draw deeply from the more genuine and reliable source, the word of God. In describing the scene of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan, Luke is not interested in telling us the historical and concrete details of this event, but rather invites us who read the Gospel in this liturgical year, to consider the main elements that enable us to grasp the identity of Jesus.

b) A division of the text to help us with the reading:

This passage from Luke contains two declarations on the identity of Jesus, namely the declaration of John (3:15-16) and that of God himself (3:21-22).

- The first declaration is provoked by the people’s reaction to the preaching and baptism of conversion of John: might he not be the Messiah? (3:15). John replies that there is a substantial difference between his baptism by water and Jesus’ baptism administered in the «Holy Spirit and fire» (3:16).

- The second declaration comes from heaven and is made during Jesus’ baptism. In the background, there are the baptised from among whom the figure of Jesus comes forward to be baptised (3:21). The focal point of the scene is not the baptism, but the events surrounding it: the heavens open, the Spirit descends on him and a voice is heard proclaiming Jesus’ identity (3:22).

c) The Gospel:  Luke 3:15-16.21-22
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, 16  John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form, as a dove, and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."

3. A moment of prayerful silence
In the silence, try to bring to life in your heart the Gospel scene just read. Try to assimilate it and make the words your own, thus identifying your thoughts with the content or meaning of the words.

4. A few questions to help us in our meditation and prayer.
a) What effect did the “voice of God” declaring Jesus “the” only, beloved Son of God, have on you?
b) Is this truth a shared and conscious conviction for you?
c) Has the baptism of Jesus convinced you that God is not distant, closed in his transcendence and indifferent to humanity’s need of salvation?
d) Does it not surprise you that Jesus goes down into the water of the Jordan to receive the baptism of penance, becoming one with sinners, he who is sinless?
e) Jesus is no sinner, but he does not refuse to become one with sinful humanity. Are you convinced that salvation begins with the law of solidarity?
f) You, who have been baptised in the name of Christ, «in the Holy Spirit and fire», are you aware that you have been called by God to experience God’s solidarity with your personal history, so that you may no longer identify with sin that isolates and divides, but with love that unites?

5. A key to the reading for those who wish to deepen their understanding.
I. The context of the Jesus’ baptism
After the childhood accounts and in preparation for the public activities of Jesus, Luke tells us of John the Baptist’s activities, the baptism and temptations of Jesus. These introduce Jesus’ own activities and give them meaning. The Evangelist includes in one unique and complete frame all the activities of John: from the beginning of his preaching on the banks of the Jordan (3:3-18) to his capture by Herod Antipas (3:19-20). When Jesus appears on the scene in 3:21 to be baptised, John is no longer mentioned. Through this silence, Luke makes explicit his reading of salvation history: John is the last prophetic voice of the promise of the Old Testament. Now the centre of history is Jesus, and it is he who begins the time of salvation, which is extended into the time of the Church.  

A not insignificant element in the understanding of the events previous to those of John the Baptist and of Jesus is the geographical and political description of Palestine in the thirties. The Evangelist wants to present a historical dimension and a theological meaning to the Jesus event. He wants to say that it is not worldly political power (represented by Tiberius Caesar) nor religious power (represented by the high priests) that gives value or meaning to human events; but rather it is “the word of God that rests upon John, son of Zachary, in the desert” (Lk 1:2). For Luke, the new or developed aspect of the history inaugurated by Jesus, lies in this context or political situation of profane and religious dominance and power. In previous times, in the accounts of the prophets, the word of God was addressed to a particular historical-political situation, but in John’s message there is an urgency: God comes in the person of Jesus. Thus the word of God calls John the Baptist from the desert to send him to the people of Israel. The task of this last prophet of the Old Testament is to prepare for the coming of the Lord among his people (Lk 1:16-17.76). He accomplishes this task by preparing all to receive God’s forgiveness through the baptism of conversion (Jer 3:34; Ez 36:25), which means a change in the way of seeing one’s relationship with God. Changing one’s life means practising fraternity and justice according to the teaching of the prophets (Lk 3:10-14). As opposed to religious or social conformism, the reader of Luke’s Gospel is invited to be open to the person of Jesus, the saving Messiah. Moreover, Luke emphasises that the prophet John did not pretend to be the rival of Jesus. On the contrary, the prophet of the Jordan saw himself as entirely subordinate to the person of Jesus: «the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie» (3:16). Again, Jesus is stronger because he gives the Spirit.

John’s life comes to a violent end in the manner of the classical prophets. The authenticity of a prophet is measured by his freedom in facing political power. Indeed, he courageously denounces the evil actions of Herod towards his people. There are two reactions to the call of the prophet: the people and sinners become converted, whereas the powerful react with repressive violence. John ends his days in prison. Through this tragic event, John anticipates the fate of Jesus who is rejected and killed, but who becomes the point of reference for all those persecuted by repressive power.

Finally, the Jordan is the physical setting of John’s preaching. Luke means to establish a close tie between this river and the Baptist: after his baptism, Jesus will never go to the Jordan again and John will never cross into Galilee and Judea, because these are places reserved for the activities of Jesus.

II. A commentary on the text
1. The Baptist’s words concerning Jesus (Lk 3:15-16)
In the first scene of the Gospel passage of today’s liturgy, John prophetically affirms that there is one “who is mightier” than he who is to come. This is the answer of the prophet of the Jordan to the opinion of the crowd that he might be the Christ. The crowds here are called the people in expectation. For Luke, Israel is considered a people open and prepared to receive the messianic salvation (at least during the time before the crucifixion). John’s words draw on the images of the Old Testament and act to exalt the mysterious person whose imminent coming he announces: «he who is mightier than I is coming» (3:16).

a) the figure of “the mightier”
The Baptist begins to paint the figure of Christ with the adjective “mighty” already used by Isaiah of the king-Messiah: «mighty, powerful like God» (9:5) and a term used in the Old Testament to signify an attribute of the Creator, considered sovereign of the universe and of history: «Yahweh is king, robed in majesty, Yahweh is robed in power, he wears it like a belt» (Ps 93:1). The expression “one is coming” echoes a title of messianic flavour found in Psalm 118, a processional hymn sung during the feast of the Tabernacles: «Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord». Luke applies this hymn to Jesus when he enters Jerusalem. The famous messianic proclamation in the book of the prophet Zachariah bears the same message: «See now, your king comes to you…» (9:9).

b) A humble gesture: «the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie»
This is another way the Evangelist describes the figure of Christ and has a typically oriental flavour: «to untie the thong of the sandals». This is the task of a slave. The Baptist sees himself as a servant of the Messiah who is to come, moreover he feels humble and unworthy:«the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie».
Then he presents the baptism that the proclaimed person will perform: «he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire». In Psalm 104:3 the Spirit of God is defined as the principle that creates and regenerates all being: «Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth». The fire, however, is par excellence the symbol of divinity: it brings heat and enkindles, animates and destroys, it is the source of warmth and death.

2. The words from heaven concerning Jesus (Lk 3:1-22)
In the second scene we have a new profile or revelation of Christ. This time, it is God himself, and not John, who paints the figure of Christ with solemn words: «You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased». This introduction and definition of Christ is supported by a real and particular heavenly choreography (the heavens open… the Spirit descends in the form of a dove… the voice from heaven) to show the divine quality of the words pronounced on the person of Jesus.

a) The dove is the symbol of the Spirit of God who possessed the prophets, but who now is infused in his fullness on the Messiah foretold by Isaiah: “On him the Spirit of Yahweh rests” (11:2). The symbol of the dove shows that with the coming of Jesus the perfect presence of God takes place who manifests himself in the pouring out fo his Spirit. It is this fullness of the Holy Spirit that consecrates Christ for his saving mission and for the task of revealing to people the definitive word of the Father. It is certain that the sign of the dove shows the reader of the passage concerning the baptism that God is about to meet with humanity. This meeting is verified in the person of Jesus. The Baptist presented Jesus as the Messiah – who in the OT remains simply a man, even though perfect – and now God defines Jesus as the “beloved” Son. This title shows the supreme presence of God, which goes beyond that experienced in the cult or any other aspect of life in Israel.
b) The divine voice is another sign accompanying the revelation of Jesus in the waters of the Jordan. The voice recalls two texts of the Old Testament. The first is a messianic hymn that cites some words of God addressed to his king-Messiah: “You are my son, this day I have begotten you” (Ps 2:7). In the OT both the figure of the king and the Messiah were considered as adoptive sons of God. Jesus, however, is the beloved son, synonymous with the only son. The second text that throws light on the words pronounced by the voice from heaven is a passage taken from the Hymns of the servant of the Lord and that the liturgy of the word of this Sunday gives us for the first reading: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights” (Is 42: 1). Two figures presented by Isaiah converge in Jesus: the hope of the Messiah-king and the figure of the suffering Messiah. It would not be improper to say that the scene of the baptism as presented by Luke is a true catechesis on the mystery of the person of Jesus, Messiah, king, servant, prophet, Son of God.

c) Again, from the voice from heaven we can see the transcendent, divine, unique quality of Jesus. This belonging of Jesus to the world of God will become visible, palpable, experienced in his humanity, in his belonging in the midst of people, in his wandering along the roads of Palestine. 

Thus the Word of God this Sunday, through the account of Jesus’ baptism, is meant to introduce Jesus to the world in a solemn way. This presentation will be complete only on the cross and in the resurrection. Indeed, on the cross, two faces of Christ are presented, the human-saving face through his death on the cross for our redemption, and the divine face in the profession of faith of the centurion: “Indeed, this is the Son of God!”.  The word of God on this day of the Lord, invites us to contemplate and adore the face of Christ that St. Augustine presented in one of his reflections: “In that face we can also see our features, those of the adoptive son revealed in our baptism”.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Hilarius of Poitiers

Feast DayJanuary 13
Patron Saint 

St Hilarius of Poitiers
Hilary (Hilarius) of Poitiers (c. 300 – c. 368[1]) was Bishop of Poitiers and is a Doctor of the Church. He was sometimes referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" (Latin: Malleus Arianorum) and the "Athanasius of the West." His name comes from the Latin word for happy or cheerful. His optional memorial in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints is 13 January. In the past, when this date was occupied by the Octave Day of the Epiphany, his feast day was moved to 14 January.[2]

Early life

Hilary was born at Poitiers about the end of the 3rd century A.D. His parents were pagans of distinction. He received a good education, including what had even then become somewhat rare in the West, some knowledge of Greek. He studied, later on, the Old and New Testament writings, with the result that he abandoned his Neo-Platonism for Christianity, and with his wife and his daughter (traditionally named Saint Abra) were baptized and received into the Church .

So great was the respect in which he was held by the citizens of Poitiers that about 353, although still a married man, he was unanimously elected bishop. At that time Arianism was threatening to overrun the Western Church; to repel the disruption was the great task which Hilary undertook. One of his first steps was to secure the excommunication, by those of the Gallican hierarchy who still remained orthodox, of Saturninus, the Arian Bishop of Arles, and of Ursacius and Valens, two of his prominent supporters.

About the same time, he wrote to Emperor Constantius II a remonstrance against the persecutions by which the Arians had sought to crush their opponents (Ad Constantium Augustum liber primus, of which the most probable date is 355). His efforts were not at first successful, for at the synod of Biterrae (Béziers), summoned in 356 by the Emperor Constantius with the professed purpose of settling the longstanding disputes, Hilary was, by an imperial rescript, banished with Rhodanus of Toulouse to Phrygia, where he spent nearly four years in exile.

Theological work

Thence, however, he continued to govern his diocese, while he found leisure for the preparation of two of the most important of his contributions to dogmatic and polemical theology: the De synodis or De fide Orientalium, an epistle addressed in 358 to the Semi-Arian bishops in Gaul, Germany and Britain, expounding the true views (sometimes veiled in ambiguous words) of the Eastern bishops on the Nicene controversy; and the De trinitate libri XII, composed in 359 and 360, in which, for the first time, a successful attempt was made to express in Latin the theological subtleties elaborated in the original Greek. The former of these works was not entirely approved by some members of his own party, who thought he had shown too great a forbearance towards the Arians; he replied to their criticisms in the Apologetica ad reprehensores libri de synodis responsa.

His urgent and repeated request for a public discussion with his opponents, especially with Ursacius and Valens, proved at last so inconvenient that he was sent back to his diocese, which he appears to have reached about 361, within a very short time of the accession of Emperor Julian.ΆΙΡΉΆ

Expulsion from Milan

He was occupied for two or three years in combating Arianism within his diocese, but in 364, extending his efforts once more beyond Gaul, he impeached Auxentius, bishop of Milan, and a man high in the imperial favour, as heterodox. Summoned to appear before Emperor Valentinian I at Milan and there maintain his charges, Hilary was mortified to hear the supposed heretic give satisfactory answers to all the questions proposed. His denunciation of Auxentius as a hypocrite did not save him from an ignominious expulsion from Milan.

In 365, he published the Contra Arianos vel Auxentium Mediolanensem liber, in connection with the controversy; and also (but perhaps at a somewhat earlier date) the Contra Constantium Augustum liber, in which he pronounced that lately deceased emperor to have been the Antichrist, a rebel against God, "a tyrant whose sole object had been to make a gift to the devil of that world for which Christ had suffered." Hilary is sometimes regarded as the first Latin Christian hymn writer, but none of the compositions assigned to him is indisputable.

The later years of his life were spent in comparative quiet, devoted in part to the preparation of his expositions of the Psalms (Tractatus super Psalmos), for which he was largely indebted to Origen; of his Commentarius in Evangelium Matthaei, an allegorical exegesis of the first Gospel; and of his no longer extant translation of Origen's commentary on Job. While he thus closely followed the two great Alexandrians, Origen and Athanasius, in exegesis and Christology respectively, his work shows many traces of vigorous independent thought. Towards the end of his episcopate and with his encouragement Martin, the future bishop of Tours, founded a monastery at Ligugé in his diocese. He died in 368; no more exact date is trustworthy.

Reputation and veneration

Among 4th-century Latin writers earlier than Ambrose, Hilary holds first place. Augustine of Hippo called him "the illustrious doctor of the churches", and his works continued to be highly influential in later centuries. Pope Pius IX formally recognized him as Universae Ecclesiae Doctor in 1851.

In the Roman calendar of saints, Hilary's feast day is on 13 January, 14 January in the pre-1970 form of the calendar. The name Hilary term is given in Oxford University to the term, beginning on 7 January, that includes his feast.


Recent research has distinguished between Hilary's thought before his period of exile in Phrygia under Constantius and the quality of his later major works. Because Augustine cites part of the commentary on Romans as by "Sanctus Hilarius" it has been ascribed by various critics at different times to almost every known Hilary. A vita of Hilary was written by Venantius Fortunatus c. 550 but is not considered reliable. More trustworthy are the notices in Saint Jerome (De vir. illus. 100), Sulpicius Severus (Chron. ii. 39-45) and in Hilary's own writings.


The following of Saint Hilary developed in association with that of St. Martin of Tours as a result of Sulpicius Severus' Vita Sancti Martini and spread early to western Britain. The villages of St Hilary in Cornwall and Glamorgan and that of Llanilar in Ceredigion bear his name.

In France the majority of dedications to Saint Hilary are to be found to the west (and north) of the Massif Central from which areas the cult eventually extended to Canada.

In northwest Italy the church of Sant’Ilario at Casale Monferrato was dedicated to him as early as 380.
In the context of English educational and legal institutions, Saint Hilary's festival lies at the start of the Hilary Term which begins in January.


  1. ^ Michael Walsh, ed. Butler's Lives of the Saints. (HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 1991), 12.
  2. ^ "Calendarium Romanum" (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 85
  • Carl Beckwith, Hilary of Poitiers on the Trinity: From De Fide to De Trinitate (New York and Oxford, 2009).
  • J. Doignon, Hilaire de Poitiers avant l'exil. Recherches sur la naissance, l'enseignementet l'épreuve d'une foi épiscopale en Gaule au milieu du IVé siècle, EAA, Paris1971
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hilarius, St". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.,_St_(Poitiers).


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:  Poitiers France

Poitiers, France
Poitiers [pwatje] is a city on the Clain river in west central France. It is a commune and the capital of the Vienne department and of the Poitou-Charentes region. The centre is picturesque and its streets are interesting for predominant remains of historical architecture, especially from the Romanesque period. Two major military battles occurred near the city: in 732, the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours), in which the Franks commanded by Charles Martel halted the expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate, and in 1356, the Battle of Poitiers, a key victory for English forces during the Hundred Years' War.


Poitiers is strategically situated on the Seuil du Poitou, a shallow zone which is a gap between the Armorican and the Central Massif and connects the Aquitaine Basin to the Paris Basin. Poitiers's primary site sits on a vast promontory between the valleys of the Boivre and the Clain. The old town occupies the slopes and summit of a plateau which rises 130 feet (40 m) above the streams which surround it on three sides.

Inhabitants of Poitiers are called Pictaviens (masculin) and Pictaviennes (feminin) because Pictavis was the ancient name for the town. It is not uncommon for inhabitants of Poitiers to call themselves Poitevins or Poitevines, although this name can be used for anyone from the Poitou province. One out of three people in Poitiers is under the age of 30 and one out of four people in Poitiers are students



Poitiers was founded by the Celtic Pictones tribe as the oppidum Lemonum before Roman influence. The name is said to have come from the Celtic word for elm, Lemo. After Roman influence, the town became known as Pictavium.

Until 1857 Poitiers contained the ruins of a vast Roman amphitheatre larger than that of Nîmes. Remains of Roman baths, built in the 1st century and demolished in the 3rd century, were laid bare in 1877.

In 1879 a burial-place and tombs of a number of Christian martyrs were discovered on the heights to the south-east, the names of some of the Christians being preserved in paintings and inscriptions. Not far from these tombs is a huge dolmen (the Pierre Levée), which is 22 feet (6.7 m) long, 16 feet (4.9 m) broad and 7 feet (2.1 m) high, and around which used to be held the great fair of Saint Luke.

The Romans also built at least three aqueducts. This extensive ensemble of Roman constructions suggests Poitiers was a town of first importance, possibly even the capital of the Roman province of Gallia Aquitania during the 2nd century.

As Christianity was officialized and introduced across the Roman Empire during the 3rd and 4th centuries, the first bishop of Poitiers from 350 to 367, Saint Hilarius, evangelized the city. The first foundations of the Baptistère Saint-Jean are traced to that era.

In the 4th century, a thick wall six meters wide and ten meters high was built around the city. It was 2.5 km (1.6 mi) long and stood lower on the naturally defended east side and at the top of the promontory
At this time, the town began to be known as Poitiers, after the original Pictones inhabitants.

Fifty years later the city fell into the hands of the Arian Visigoths, and became one of the principal residences of their kings. Visigoth King Alaric II was defeated by Clovis I at Vouillé, not far from Poitiers, in 507, and the town came under Frankish dominion.

Middle Ages

Charles-de-Gaulle place and its medieval heritage
During most of the Early Middle Ages, the town of Poitiers took advantage of its defensive site and of its location, which was far from the centre of Frankish power. As the seat for an évêché (bishop) since the 4th century, the town was the capital of the Poitou county. The Counts of Poitiers governed a large domain, including both Aquitaine and Poitou.

The first decisive Christian victory over Muslims—the Battle of Tours—was fought by Charles Martel's men in the vicinity of Poitiers on 10 October 732. It was one of the world's pivotal moments.

Eleanor of Aquitaine frequently resided in the city, which she embellished and fortified, and in 1199 entrusted with communal rights.

The Battle of Poitiers was fought at Poitiers on 19 September 1356, during the Hundred Years' War.

In 1418, the royal parliament moved from Paris to Poitiers, where it remained in exile until the Plantagenets withdrew from the capital in 1436. During this interval (1429) Joan of Arc was subjected to a formal inquest in the town. The University of Poitiers was founded in 1431. Also, John Calvin had numerous converts at Poitiers. Of the violent proceedings which attended the Wars of Religion, the city had its share. In 1569 it was defended by Gui de Daillon, comte du Lude, against Gaspard de Coligny, who after an unsuccessful bombardment retired from the siege at the end of seven weeks.

16th century

The type of political organisation existing in Poitiers during the late medieval or early modern period can be glimpsed through a speech given on 14 July 1595 by Maurice Roatin, the town's mayor. He compared it to the Roman state, which combined three types of government: monarchy (rule by one person), aristocracy (rule by a few), and democracy (rule by the many). He said the Roman consulate corresponded to Poitiers' mayor, the senate to the town's peers and échevins, and the democratic element in Rome corresponded to the fact that most important matters "can not be decided except by the advice of the Mois et Cent (broad council).1 The mayor appears to have been an advocate of a mixed constitution; not all Frenchmen in 1595 would have agreed with him, at least in public; many spoke in favour of absolute monarchy. We should also note that the democratic element was not as strong as the mayor's words may seem to imply: in fact, Poitiers was similar to other French cities, Paris, Nantes, Marseille, Limoges, La Rochelle, Dijon, in that the town's governing body (corps de ville) was "highly exclusive and oligarchical": a small number of professional and family groups controlled most of the city offices. In Poitiers many of these positions were granted for the lifetime of the office holder.

The city government in Poitiers based its claims to legitimacy on the theory of government where the mayor and échevins held jurisdiction of the city's affairs in fief from the king: that is, they swore allegiance and promised support for him, and in return he granted them local authority. This gave them the advantage of being able to claim that any townsperson who challenged their authority was being disloyal to the king. Every year the mayor and the 24 échevins would swear an oath of allegiance "between the hands" of the king or his representative, usually the lieutenant général or the sénéchaussée. For example, in 1567, when Maixent Poitevin was mayor, king Henri III came for a visit, and, although some townspeople grumbled about the licentious behaviour of his entourage, Henri smoothed things over with a warm speech acknowledging their allegiance and thanking them for it.

In this era, the mayor of Poitiers was preceded by sergeants wherever he went, consulted deliberative bodies, carried out their decisions, "heard civil and criminal suits in first instance", tried to ensure that the food supply would be adequate, visited markets.

In the 16th century, Poitiers impressed visitors because of its large size, and important features, including "royal courts, university, prolific printing shops, wealthy religious institutions, cathedral, numerous parishes, markets, impressive domestic architecture, extensive fortifications, and castle."

Poitiers is closely associated with the life of François Rabelais and with the community of Bitards.

17th century

The town saw less activity during the Renaissance. Few changes were made in the urban landscape, except for laying way for the rue de la Tranchée. Bridges were built were the inhabitants had used gués. A few hôtels particuliers were built at that time, such as the hôtels Jean Baucé, Fumé and Berthelot. Poets Joachim du Bellay and Pierre Ronsard met at the University of Poitiers, before leaving for Paris.

Many Acadians or Cajuns living in North America can trace ancestry to this region as their ancestors left from here in the 17th century.

18th century

The city at this time lived mostly off of its administrative functions: royal justice, évêché, monasteries and the intendance of the Généralité du Poitou. The Vicomte de Blossac, intendant from 1750 to 1784, had a French garden landscaped. He also had Aliénor d'Aquitaine's wall razed and boulevards built in its place

19th century

During the 19th century, many army bases were built in Poitiers because of its central and strategic location. Poitiers became a garrison town, despite its distance from France's borders. The train station was built in the 1850s. 

20th century

Poitiers was bombed during World War II, particularly the area round the railway station which was heavily hit on 13 June 1944.

During the late fifties until the late sixties when Charles de Gaulle ended the American military presence, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force had an array of military installations in France, including a major Army logistics and communications hub in Poitiers, part of what was called the Communication Zone (ComZ), and consisting of a logistics headquarters and communications agency located at Aboville Caserne, a military compound situated on a hill above the city. Today, hundreds of graduates (called "Military Brats") of Poitiers American High School, a school operated by the Department of Defense School System (DODDS), have gone on to successful careers, including the recent commander-in-chief of U.S. Special Forces Command, Army General Bryan (Doug) Brown. The Caserne also housed a full support community, with a theater, commissary, recreation facilities and an affiliate radio station of the American Forces Network, Europe, headquartered in Frankfurt (now Mannheim), Germany.

The city benefited from industrial décentralisation in the 1970s, for instance with the installation of Michelin and Compagnie des compteurs Schlumberger factories during that decade.

The Futuroscope theme park and research park project, built in 1986–1987 in nearby Chasseneuil-du-Poitou after an idea from René Monory, established the city as a touristic destination and opened it to the era of information technology.


Église St-Hilaire-le-Grand
  • Baptistère Saint-Jean (4th century) – the oldest church in France
  • Palace of Poitiers – the seat of the Dukes of Aquitaine
  • Église Notre-Dame-la-Grande – oldest romanesque architecture church in Europe
  • Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, Poitiers's cathedral (12th century)
  • Musée Sainte-Croix, the largest museum in Poitiers
  • Église Sainte-Radegonde-de-Poitiers
  • Église Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand (11th century)
  • Hypogée des Dunes (underground chapel)
  • Jardin des Plantes de Poitiers, a park and botanical garden
  • Église de Montierneuf
  • Parc du Futuroscope (European Park of the Moving Image, some 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Poitiers; theme is visual communication technology in ultramodern buildings)
  • Le Confort Moderne


The city of Poitiers has a very old university tradition. The University of Poitiers was established in 1431 and welcomed many famous thinkers ( François Rabelais; René Descartes; Francis Bacon ). It is the second oldest university in France. Poitiers is nowadays one of the biggest student cities in France; it has more students per inhabitant than any other city in France. There are more than 27,000 university students, nearly 4000 of them foreigners, from 117 countries. The University covers all major fields such as sciences, geography, history, languages.

It also has two engineering schools and two business schools:
  • École nationale supérieure de mécanique et d'aérotechnique (ENSMA)
  • École nationale supérieure d'ingénieurs de Poitiers (ENSIP)
  • Ecole Supérieure de Commerce Et Management (ESCEM)
  • Institut d'Administration des Entreprises de Poitiers (IAE).
The law degree is one of the best in France, rank 2nd by Etudiant magazine in 2005. Since 2001, the city of Poitiers has hosted the first cycle of "South America, Spain and Portugal" from the Paris Institute of Political Studies.


    • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.


    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    Part One: Profession of Faith, Chapter 3:1

    CHAPTER TWO, 3:1

    I. The Apostolic Tradition
    75 "Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline."DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15

    In the apostolic preaching. . .

    76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways:  - orally "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit";DV 7 - in writing "by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing".DV 7

    . . . continued in apostolic succession

    77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."DV 7 # 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7/1, 848; Harvey, 2, 9. Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."DV 8 # 1

    78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, "the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes."DV 8 # 1 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."DV 8 # 3

    79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."DV 8 # 3; cf. Col 3:16.