Augustine of Hippo, an African Saint on European Soil
Saint Augustine of Hippo (Tagaste, 13 November 354 – Hippo, 28August 430) was a great Christian philosopher, Bishop and theologian of the Late Latin.
Also known as the Doctor of Grace, he is considered as a Church Father as well as a doctor and a saint for his thoughtful, religious writings about the relationship between Human Freedom and Holy Grace.
As one of the best Christian thinkers of 1st Millennium, he aimed for the truth through soul-searching which contributed to turn him into a spiritual father for the development of both Western thinking and cultural identity.
Among his most important works is Confessions, that opens up the way for the autobiographical genre, perfectly conveying the modernity in the Augustinian thought.
Augustine was born in Tagaste (now Souk-Ahras), in the region of Numidia, in North Africa. He received a Christian education from his mother, but when he read Cicero’s Hortensius he embraced Manichaean religion. In 384 he travelled to Milan, where he met Saint Ambrose.
This encounter turned out to be essential to his faith journey: in the autumn of 386 he converted to Christianity in the spiritual retreat of Rus Cassiciacum, while on April 25th 387 he was baptized by Ambrose.
Soon after his conversion he returned to Africa with the desire to establish a monastic community. In Hippo he was ordained a priest and became Bishop shortly thereafter. His theological and mystical teachings as well as his philosophical and polemic writings remain among the pillars of the Church.
At the time when Vandals were besieging Hippo, Augustin fell incurably ill. He died on August 28th, 430, at the age of 76.