Saint HilarianPatron saint for the parish of Perse
St Hilarian's beheading
( Church of Espalion )
St Hilarian crosses Lot River on his coat( stained-glass window in the church of Espalion )
( Vaylet museum. Espalion )
According to his golden legend born of several texts, particularly a St Hilarian's liturgical service, this saint would be born VIIIth century in Lévinhac from noble birth parents. Very dutiful child, he early turned to priesthood. Introduced sometimes as the Charlemagne's confessor (by mistake with St Hilarion), sometimes as a priest serving the parish of Perse which is not a monastery in legend. Persecuted by Sarrasins, he was often going to do the mass to Lévinhac by care of security, and sometimes must escape them across the river. When The Lot River was in flood, he laid down his coat on the water and used it like a boat.The St Hilarian's cross is erected towards that passage. After his murder by his enemies, he was first buried in Lévinhac, before his relics were transferred to Perse. Compostelle pilgrims went meditate on these relics.
the historic reality
A gallican list of martyrs in XVIIth century shows him like a missionary came to evangelize populations of Rouergue, without a local origin, one of these missionaries came from the Orient behind St Martin. That reality seems the most likely. Saint Hilarian (whatever name he really had) very likely belonged to the uprising of hermits which develop in Gaul during the fourth century. He had all the characters of these hermits came from a long way and by whom the Church hastened to do local saints for establish its authority on new converted populations.
Saint Hilarian is named for the first time in 1060 in charter of Perse's donation to Conques abbey, with two spellings:
"Sancto Ylariano" et "Sancto Hylariano"
Set on the Lot riverside on the road of Combes, that cross watches the supposed place where St Hilarian crossed the river.He laid his coat on water as a raft when the Lot was in flood.It was a halt in processions in honour of the saint.