Who Is Saint Augustine

Saint Augustine

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is St. Augustine?

Augustine of Hippo, also known as Saint Augustine of Hippo, original Latin name Aurelius Augustinus, (born November 13, 354 in Tagaste, Numidia—died August 28, 430 in Hippo Regius; feast day August 28),bishop of Hippo from 396 to 430, one of the Latin Fathers of the Church and, after St. Paul, perhaps the most influential Christian thinker of the second century. Augustine’s application of classical ideas to Christian teaching resulted in a theological system that has had a significant and long-lasting impact on the world.

He is technically acknowledged as an adoctor of the church in the Roman Catholic faith.

  1. His prominence would have been more comparable to that of some of his contemporaries had no written works remained, but he would still have been a significant person in his own right if none of his written works had survived.
  2. His peculiar theological approach molded LatinChristianity in a way that was second only to the influence of the Bible itself.
  3. Augustine symbolizes the most influential integration of the ancientPlatonictradition with Christian concepts that has ever occurred in the Latin Christian culture, both intellectually and philosophically.
  4. In many respects, both modern Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity are indebted to the ideas of Augustine, but in other ways each group has been ashamed to acknowledge that loyalty in the face of irreconcilable components in his thought.

According to certain scholars and historians, Augustine has been described as both a champion of human liberty and an outspoken defender of divine determinism, and while his ideas on sexuality were compassionate in design, they have frequently been perceived as restrictive in practice.

Life overview

On Augustine’s birthplace at Tagaste, a tiny Roman settlement in a river valley in Africa 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the Mediterranean coast, close to where the veneer of Roman civilization began to thin off in the highlands of Numidia, he was given the name Augustine. Augustine’s parents were members of the respectable class of Roman society, who were able to survive off the labor of others, although their financial situation was occasionally precarious. They were able to provide Augustine with a first-class education, sometimes with the help of borrowed funds, and, despite the fact that he had at least one brother and one sister, he appears to have been the only kid who was sent away to be schooled.

  • His teaching career began at Tagaste, where he taught rhetoric, the prime science for the Roman noble, for a short period of time before returning to Carthage to teach rhetoric, which he was apparently quite adept at.
  • Augustine left Africa in 383 when he was 28 years old, restless and ambitious, in order to pursue a career in Rome.
  • Milan, the emperor’s traditional home at the time, served as the de facto capital of the Western Roman Empire and the location where the most successful professions were established.
  • Augustine’s professional life, on the other hand, came to a halt in Milan.
  • It was there that he spent his time as an educated squire, caring for his family’s land and rearing the son, Adeodatus, who had been left by his long-term girlfriend (her name is unknown), who had been kidnapped from the lower ranks, while also pursuing his literary pursuits.
  • The shift did not come as a complete surprise.
  • From that point on, all of his writings were motivated by his commitment to a particular sort of Christianity that was both orthodox and intellectual in nature.

His coreligionists in North Africa accepted his distinctive stance and style with some difficulty, and Augustine chose to associate himself with the “official” branch of Christianity, which was approved by emperors and reviled by the most enthusiastic and numerous branches of the African church.

  • It was his uncanny ability to write at a high theoretical level for the most discriminating readers while still being able to deliver sermons with passion and fierceness in anidiom that a less-cultured audience could enjoy that distinguished him.
  • Hippo was a trade city with little in the way of riches or culture compared to Carthage or Rome, and Augustine never felt completely at ease there.
  • Aristotle’s educational background, as well as his experience in the Roman military, prepared him for the art of rhetoric, which consisted in asserting the strength of one’s own person via speech that distinguished him from his peers and influenced the audience to accept his point of view.
  • This style of rhetorician carried over into his clerical character for the rest of his life.
  • While in rustication and early in his Hippo period, he authored book after book against Manichaeism, a Christian sect that he had joined in his late teens and abandoned ten years later when it became politically untenable to continue with them.
  • After falling foul of the Christian emperors who succeeded Constantine (reigned 305–337), the local African Christian tradition was labeled as schismatic and given the name Donatism after Donatus, one of its early founders; it was eventually suppressed.
  • Carthage was at the center of the dispute when the ruling emperor dispatched an official agent to settle it in 411.

The legal limits placed on Donatism as a result of this decision determined the outcome of the battle in favor of Augustine’s party.

Augustine progressively worked himself up to a polemical fever over views that Pelagius may or may not have advocated, after taking offense at the implications of the teachings of a wandering social preacher named Pelagius.

While other churchmen were befuddled and reacted with some caution to Augustine, Augustine persisted.

Pelagius and Celestius had been condemned by two councils of African bishops in 416 and again in Carthage in 418.

During these years, Augustine had worked hard to establish a solid reputation as a writer throughout Africa and the world.

In his final years, he meticulously cataloged all of his books, annotating them with bristling defensiveness in order to dissuade accusers of inconsistency from making false accusations.

Despite his prominence, Augustine died with his local legacy tarnished as a result of the invasion of the West.

The assaulting armies, which were dubbed theVandals by their contemporaries, consisted of a mixed mixture of “barbarians” and adventurers looking for a place to call home.

After a century of dominance in Africa, Roman soldiers dispatched from Constantinople defeated the Vandals, who adhered to a more strongly particularist form of the Christian faith than any of the Africans with whom Augustine had been in contact during his journey.

The Islamic invasions of North Africa in the 7th century brought an end to a revival of orthodox Christianity that had begun in the 6th century under the patronage of Constantinople.

Augustine’s writings have persisted to this day.

Augustine’s literary opus, in its whole, managed to survive and make it out of Africa intact, against the odds.

However accurate the narrative is, some sort of coordinated retreat to Sardinia on the part of Augustine’s disciples, accompanied by his body and his works, is not impossible and remains the best guess at this point in time.

Four Things You Should Know about the Life of Saint Augustine

Our souls are restless until they find peace in you, for you have created us for yourself.” — St. Augustine of Hippo With the start of another academic year, we would want to recognize the influence of Saint Augustine, a real scholar who committed his life to rational theological research. On August 28, we commemorate the feast day of this fundamental thinker and teacher, whose influence on Christian theology and Western philosophy has been unequaled throughout history.

1. Augustine was an unlikely convert.

Saint Augustine was born in Northern Africa in the year 354 and is known as the “Father of the Church.” Despite the fact that he was reared by a devout Christian mother, he was a difficult youngster who eventually turned out to be an agnostic. At 383, he established a school of rhetoric in Rome, where he was a highly bright scholar who had acquired the best possible education. However, he became disillusioned with the city and relocated to Milan within a year. It was there that he met the bishop Saint Ambrose, who was a persuasive orator with a grasp of eloquence that he admired greatly.

Augustine was particularly taken aback by this purity, which played a crucial role in his eventual conversion.

The Basilica’s East Façade is decorated with a statue of Saint Augustine.

2. Reading Romans changed Augustine’s life.

The turning point in Augustine’s life is believed to have occurred one day while he was sitting in a garden and heard a kid yelling, “Take up and read! “Pick up your book and read!” Augustine opened his Bible, sensing a spiritual prompting, and found in the book of Romans an invitation to leave licentiousness and follow Christ. Up until this time, Augustine had fought mostly with sexual immorality and sensuality, but now he was unexpectedly struck with the reality of his sin and the need for salvation.

Later, he was ordained, and in 395, he was elevated to the position of bishop of Hippo.

3. Augustine was a giant of Western philosophy.

When asked about Augustine’s significance, Pope Benedict XVI stated that he was “among the great figures in the history of thinking.” Aside from having a great influence on Christianity, Augustine has also had an impact on western culture and philosophy in general, and particularly on Western philosophy. His Confessions, according to some estimates, is regarded the earliest autobiography of the Western world, and it is possibly the “most widely read book of Christian antiquity.” In and of itself, the sheer amount of texts Augustine created during his lifetime is mind-boggling, with an estimated 3,000 letters and homilies, as well as an additional 1,000 more publications of major intellectual and theological depth.

In the words of the bishop Possidus, one of Augustine’s companions, “Augustine’s writings are so vast that it would be practically difficult for a scholar to study them all and know them all thoroughly.”

4. Augustine authored theConfessionsandCity of God.

‘Augustine’s Confessions’ are written in the style of a dialogue with the Almighty, as if Augustine were speaking directly to God. When discussing Augustine’s legacy, Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that the Latin wordconfessiones had two meanings: “confession” and “confessions.” As a first step, we must acknowledge our own failings and the wretchedness of sin; but, confessiones also implies praise for God and gratitude to him. Seeing our own wretchedness in the light of God leads to praise and appreciation for God, for God loves and accepts us, changes us, and raises us up to himself via his grace.

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Following the fall of Rome in 410, pagans said that the disaster was precipitated by the growing influence of Christianity.

His book puts forth a theological framework that compares what he refers to as the City of God with the city of the world, as well as describing the teleology of both.

Saint Augustine is also commemorated throughout the Basilica’s chapels, including the Our Mother of Good Counsel Chapel, the Baldachin, and the Saint Catherine of Alexandria Chapel.


“The Lives of the Saints” by Butler (ed. by Bernard Bangley) The Way of the Saints by Cowan

Saint Augustine — The Augustinians

Aurelius Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste, Algeria, in North Africa, the son of Patricius, a non-believer, and his fervent Catholic wife, Monica. He was the son of Patricius and Monica, who were both devoted Catholics. Despite the fact that his mother enrolled him as a catechumen when he was a child, Augustine’s baptism was postponed until a later date in accordance with the prevalent norm. September had an inquisitive mind and a charming personality from an early age. He had set his sights on a career that would provide him with both wealth and fame, goals that were enthusiastically supported by his parents, who sought out opportunities to provide their son with the best education possible.

  1. A more significant spiritual trip that he undertook over an extended period of time in quest of inner peace and permanent contentment was suggested by his travels from city to city, which were prompted by numerous chances and difficulties.
  2. Bishop Ambrose of Milan performed his baptism when he was 33 years old.
  3. Alypius and Adeodatus were present during Augustine’s baptism, and the three of them headed off towards Augustine’s hometown, where they hoped to join other men who had had a similar fundamental conversion to the Christian religion.
  4. Augustine, Adeodatus, and several friends lived an intensive life of prayer, work, and companionship at Tagaste, where they shared their thoughts about Scripture and the Christian vocation with one another.
  5. Despite this, he was willing to accept God’s plan, believing it to be for his own good and the that of others around him.
  6. When Augustine succeeded Valerius as bishop of Rome, he felt forced to relocate to the bishop’s residence in order not to interfere with the peace of the monastic community.
  7. As a result, from the time of his return to Tagaste until the time of his death, Augustine was adamant on living a monastic lifestyle in community.
  8. His pastoral responsibilities at Hippo were supplemented by his attendance at Church Council meetings all across North Africa.
  9. He traveled to Carthage, the metropolitan see, for talks with other bishops around thirty times throughout his nine-day tour.
  10. In the year 430, Augustine became unwell and was forced to retire to his bed.
  11. He died on August 28th, just as the Vandals were about to take control of the city of Hippo.

His body was initially buried at Hippo, but it was then transported to Sardinia for safekeeping before being transported to Pavia in Northern Italy, where it is presently interred in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro.

St. Augustine of Hippo – Saints & Angels

As a child, Aurelius Augustine was born in 354 in the Algerian city of Tagaste, in the country of North Africa. He was the son of Patricius, a nonbeliever, and Monica, his fervent Catholic mother. In line with local custom, Augustine’s baptism was postponed until later in life, despite the fact that his mother had enrolled him as a catechumen when he was a kid. September had an inquisitive mind and a charming personality from an early age. He had set his sights on a career that would provide him with both wealth and fame, goals that were enthusiastically supported by his parents, who looked for opportunities to provide their son with the best education they could afford.

  1. A more significant spiritual trip that he undertook over an extended period of time in quest of inner peace and permanent contentment was suggested by his travels from city to city, which were prompted by numerous possibilities and obstacles.
  2. Bishop Ambrose of Milan baptized him when he was 33 years old.
  3. Following his baptism, which he received alongside Adeodatus and Augustine’s own close friend, Alypius, Augustine headed off for his hometown, where he hoped to live a monastic lifestyle with other men who had also had a dramatic conversion to the religion.
  4. Augustine, Adeodatus, and several friends lived an intensive life of prayer, work, and companionship at Tagaste, where they shared their insights into Scripture and the Christian vocation with one another.
  5. Despite this, he was willing to accept God’s plan, believing it to be for his own good and the good of the people of Hippo.
  6. When Augustine succeeded Valerius as bishop of Rome, he felt forced to relocate to the bishop’s residence in order not to interfere with the peace of the monastic community.
  7. Since his return to Tagaste, Augustine has steadfastly chosen a monastic way of life in community, which he has maintained until his death.
  8. His pastoral responsibilities at Hippo were supplemented by his attendance at Church Council meetings all across North Africa.
  9. He traveled to Carthage, the metropolitan see, for talks with other bishops around thirty times during his nine-day stay there.
  10. Augustine became unwell in the year 430 and was forced to go to his bed.
  11. During the Vandals’ siege of Hippo on August 28th, he succumbed to his injuries.

In Hippo, his body was laid to rest; however, it was then transported to Sardinia for safekeeping before being transported to Pavia in Northern Italy, where it is presently interred in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro.

St. Augustine Biography

Background Information about the Author On November 13, 354 at the village of Thagaste, on what is now Algeria’s northern coast, Saint Augustine of Hippo was born. He was the first Christian martyr to be martyred. North Africa was a component of the Roman Empire, however it was seen as something of a backwater since it was so far away from the imperial centers of authority. It is believed that Augustine’s father Patricius (or Patrick) was adecurio, or a low-ranking officer in the Roman empire.

  • As a result of this obligation, the family’s finances were likely put under continual strain, which may explain Augustine’s claims that his family was impoverished.
  • In addition to being a pagan, Patricius was also a follower of the Roman civic religion.
  • Patricius was just a lukewarm Christian, but he enabled Monica to raise the couple’s children as Christians, and he eventually committed to Christianity before his death in a car accident.
  • Patricius, on the other hand, had little impact on Augustine’s personality, and Patricius emerges in the Confessions as a remote and ambiguous figure.
  • He was sent to the adjacent town of Madaura for further studies, but due to a lack of funds, he was obliged to return home to Thagaste for a year, during which time his father attempted to save more money to cover the cost of tuition.
  • Augustine’s parents were more concerned with his academic performance than with his personal behavior.
  • He studied literature and poetry there in preparation for a future as a rhetor, a professional public speaker and rhetorical educator.

In Carthage, he established a home with a concubine, who would later become the mother of his son, Adeodatus, who was born about 372.

He believes this book instilled in him the drive to pursue truth in whatever form he may find it.

Attracted to Manichaeism by its clear demarcation between good and evil, its highly intellectual mythology, and its severe moral standards, Augustine studied it for several years.

Augustine went on to have a thriving career as a public speaker and educator.

Despite the fact that Augustine’s time in Rome was unsatisfactory, his abilities grabbed the attention of a Roman official, who nominated Augustine for the job of public orator for the imperial city of Milan.

The application of Neo-Platonic ideas to the interpretation of Christian scripture, presented with Ambrose’s famous eloquence, piqued Augustine’s interest.

Throughout his life, Augustine had been growing more disillusioned with Manichaeism, and Ambrose’s influence led him to end his association with them.

Meanwhile, Augustine’s professional life was thriving, and his long-term prospects seemed promising.

In the fall of 386, he had a conversion experience that led him to sacrifice his professional ambitions and future marriage chances in order to devote his life entirely to the service of God.

He was ultimately baptized by Bishop Ambrose on Easter Sunday in 387.

They were on their way back to Africa when they were delayed.

After his exile from Rome, Augustine retreated to Thagaste, where he lived on his family’s farm in a tiny quasi-monastic community until his death in 389.

In 391, he traveled to the city of Hippo Regius, which is about 60 miles away from Thagaste, with the intention of establishing a monastery, but he ended up being conscripted into the priesthood by a Christian congregation in the city of Hippo Regius instead.

Over the following 35 years, he spent his time preaching, celebrating mass with his congregation, mediating local issues, and ministering to them.

As a result of this division, the Christian church in North Africa was split into two competing groups, the Donatists and the Catholics.

Following the conclusion of the persecutions, the Catholic Church re-admitted those Christians who had publicly repented of having rejected their Christian religion.

Furthermore, they refused to acknowledge any priests or bishops other than their own, claiming that the Catholic bishops had been anointed by traitors and hence were not legitimate.

Augustine attempted diplomacy with the Donatists at initially, but they rejected his efforts, leading him to advocate for the use of force against them in the long run.

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Although Donatism was outlawed by the Roman authority in 405, the fight persisted until 411.

Donatism was stifled by the imposition of heavy legal sanctions.

A disaster shook the Roman world during the height of the Donatist conflict.

Rome was the symbolic capital of an empire that had dominated the known world for hundreds of years.

As a result, Augustine began composing his greatest masterwork, The City of God Against the Pagans, which he labored on for 15 years and is considered his best achievement.

At around the same time that Rome was falling, a religious movement known as Pelagianism started to spread across the church, calling for a fundamental renewal of spiritual and physical discipline.

Pelagius was appalled by what he perceived to be the apparent helplessness of human beings implied by Augustine’s words.

Pelagius maintained that human beings may choose to reach moral perfection through pure power of will — and not only that they can, but that they must — and that this is the only way for them to be happy.

Christians may and should try to be good, but they must also acknowledge their fallen position and their reliance on God’s grace in order to do so.

In any case, Pelagianism continued to have a significant influence, and Augustine spent his final years engaged in a long-distance argument with Julian of Eclanum, a brilliant and outspoken champion of Pelagianism.

Augustine associated the birth of sexual desire with the beginning of human disobedience, which he said was the result of Adam and Eve’s original sin, which blemished all of humanity.

He was adamant that sexual desire was merely another of the physical senses and that God’s justice would not punish the entire human race as a result of the disobedience of a single individual.

In light of Augustine’s contention that only God’s grace can drive human beings toward salvation, the question of how God selects those who would be saved became essential.

A form of uprising broke out among numerous French monastic communities in the year 428 as a result of this argument.

Augustine agreed that predestination was a tough topic in answer to letters from the monks, but he refused to concede the argument.

The Vandals, another barbarian tribe from Europe, invaded north Africa in 429, bringing the region under their control.

According to Augustine’s biographer, Possidius, he spent the last days of his life studying the penitential psalms that he had posted on the walls of his room and weeping over his sins, as well as praying for the conversion of others.

He died on August 28, 430, at the age of 75, and thus did not live to witness the Vandals’ invasion and conquest of Hippo in 431.

Augustine had a tremendous impact on the civilisation that succeeded it, the Christianized civilization of Medieval Europe, and he was a major figure in that development.

Many of these works have not yet been translated into English, despite the fact that a massive translation project is currently under way in this country.

The labor of Augustine and his companion and biographer Possidius, despite the fact that he never completed this assignment, provided future readers with a well-documented list of Augustine’s writings.

Augustine was born in 397 and died in 427.

St. Augustine

The Church commemorates St. Augustine on this day, August 28. St. Augustine was born on November 13, 354 in the village of Thagaste (now Souk-Ahras in modern-day Algeria), and grew up to be one of the most prominent and influential figures in the history of the Catholic Church. He is known as the “Father of the Church.” For more than a millennium, his teachings served as the cornerstone of Christian dogma. The autobiographical Confessions, which contains the most intimate and well-known peek into an individual’s soul ever published, as well as a fascinating philosophical, theological, mystical, lyrical, and literary work, tells the tale of his life up to his conversion.

  • 63).
  • He traveled to Carthage to study and quickly became well-known in the city for his sharp intellect and rhetorical abilities.
  • But he also found and fell in love with philosophy when he was 19 years old, a love that he followed with tremendous vigor until the age of 40.
  • In the beginning, Augustine was a disciple for nine years, absorbing everything there was to learn from the book before dismissing it as nonsensical and dishonest.
  • He was baptized, and his mother, Saint Monica, died not long after, knowing that everything she had wished for in this life had been realized in him.
  • He subsequently accepted it as God’s will and went on to serve as the pastor of a North African village, where he spent much of his time disputing the works of heretics.
  • Another work written by Augustine was The City of God, which was intended to counter the claims of pagans who claimed that the fall of the Roman empire, which was taking place at the hands the Vandals, was the result of the introduction of Christianity.

Augustine died on August 28, 430, while Hippo was under siege by the Vandals. He was 76 years old and died at the age of 76. His legacy continues to have a profound impact on the way the Church is perceived today.

St. Augustine: 10 Things to Know and Share

The feast day of Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church, is celebrated on August 28. The feast day of St. Augustine, bishop and doctor of the Church, is celebrated on August 28. He is considered to be one of the most prominent Church Fathers and theologians in the history of the world. What was his name, and why was he so well-known? Here are some things you should be aware of and share with others. 1) When and where did he come into the world? It is said that St. Augustine was born in the year 354 in Thagaste, Numidia (modern-day Souk Ahras, Algeria) to a wealthy family.

  1. Augustine’s mother, St.
  2. He was of mixed heritage, having Phoenicians, Berbers, and Latins among his forefathers and foremothers.
  3. According to his biography, Latin appears to have been his first language.
  4. In particular, he became cognizant of sin as a child after taking part in an useless act of robbery that he considered to be a sin.

According to his spiritual autobiography, the Confessions, he recounted the occurrence as follows: “In a garden next to our vineyard, there was a pear tree, filled with fruit that was neither appealing in sight nor delectable in taste.” A bunch of really wicked adolescents came out to shake down and loot this tree late one night — at an hour when, according to our pestilential habit, we had continued our street games — and they were successful.” The fruit we picked from it was not for our own consumption, but rather for the pigs’ consumption; even if we did consume some of it, we did so in order to do what pleased us despite the fact that it was banned.

“Bear witness to my heart, O Lord, bear witness to my heart upon which you showed mercy in the depths of hell.” “Look, now let my heart tell you what it was looking for there: that I should be bad without a reason and that there should be no cause for my evil but evil itself.” “Foul was the evil, and I adored it.” “Foul was the evil, and I adored it.” 3) Were there any other faults he committed when he was younger?


Paul describes as “youthful passions” (passions of youth) (2 Timothy 2:22).

I, wretched young man who had been extremely miserable even at the commencement of my life, had entreated You for chastity, and pleaded, “Grant me chastity and continence, but not now.” Because I was terrified that You would hear me soon and that You would free me from the malady of concupiscence, which I want to have gratified rather than eliminated,” says the author.

  1. It is possible that Augustine did not record her name on purpose, maybe out of fear for her reputation, therefore we do not know who she was.
  2. Monica objected to Augustine marrying a lady from a lower social level since she was not of Augustine’s social class, and thus he never married her.
  3. Adeodatus was the son of Augustine and his wife, Agnes.
  4. 4) What was his religious development like?
  5. Known as Manicheanism, it was a Gnostic, dualistic movement that was created in the second century AD by an Iranian man named Mani.
  6. Things aren’t going so well for him right now in his quest to become a saint.
  7. He accepted a post as a rhetorical instructor in Milan, and, with the help of his mother, he began to come into greater contact with Christians and Christian literature as a result of this.

In response, he randomly opened the Bible to Romans 13:13-14, which reads: “Let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and intoxication, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy, but in righteousness as in the day.” Wear the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no preparation for the body, so that it may be appeased in its wants.

  • He and Adeodatus were baptized during the next Easter Vigil, which took place a few days later.
  • Ambrose of Milan.
  • Ambrose may have the most bizarre life narrative of all of the Church Fathers, according to legend.
  • How did he come to be recognized as a Church Father?
  • Unluckily for Monica, she only managed to make it all the way to Ostia, the port of Rome, before passing on to her heavenly reward.
  • Augustine was left alone on the family’s land as a result of this.
  • But he did manage to keep the family home, which he converted into a monastic establishment.

In 395, he was elevated to the position of coadjutor bishop, and afterwards to that of bishop.

7) What caused his death?


Unfortunately, the Vandals destroyed the city following Augustine’s death, although they spared Augustine’s church and library from destruction.

Because the practice of papal canonization had not yet developed, he was canonized solely on the basis of public acclaim.

Augustine, along with Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Jerome, was one of the Church’s founding fathers, and he was one of the original four physicians of the Church.

In 1298, Pope Boniface VII conferred the title of doctor upon him. His publications, which include key theological, philosophical, and spiritual works, have an unusually high monetary worth, and as a result, he was elevated to the rank of doctor. The following are some of his most well-known works:

  • He wrote The Confessions, which is his spiritual autobiography. Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love
  • On Christian Doctrine
  • On the City of God
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It should be noted that this is only a small sampling of what he wrote. He couldn’t seem to put his pen down! A vast sample of his writing may be found online at this link. Do you believe that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has a specific relationship to the ideas of St. Augustine? If so, please explain. Yes. As he described it in his memoirs “Milestones,” “in his Confessions had hit me with the intensity of all his human emotion and depth.” Thomas Aquinas, on the other hand, was difficult for me to penetrate because his crystal-clear reasoning seemed to me to be too closed in on itself, too impersonal, and too ready-made.

  • Joseph and St.
  • Augustine, whom I have had the great gift of getting to know close at hand through study and prayer, and who has become a good “traveling companion” in both my personal life and ministry.
  • (This is what the name “Augustus” implies.) Contrary to the high-sounding implications of the name “Augustus,” the name “Augustine” has resulted in the creation of a nickname with considerably more vernacular meanings: Gus.
  • Although it appears to be a contraction of the word “hippopotamus” to English speakers, it was used to refer to a completely other species in Greek.
  • “Augustine of Hippo” can be interpreted as “Gus from Horse,” which is a shortened form of the name.
  • After all, Augustine was originally from the Old West.

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The original version of this item published in the Register on August 27, 2014.

Augustine of Hippo

Saint Augustine of Hippo (Aurelius Augustinus, 354-430 CE) was the first important philosopher of the Christian era and is considered to be the father of Western philosophy. It is thought that he served as Bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia during the latter years of the Roman Empire, and his most renowned work, the City of God, explained what he considered to be the root reason of the fall. Some of his works dealt with topics such as original sin and free will, and his thoughts would have a lasting impact not just on the evolution of medieval theology but also on the theologians of the Protestant Reformation, who would follow him into exile after his death.

Because of his contributions to theology, he has been designated as a saint and a Doctor of the Church.

Early Life

Augustine was born in the city of Tageste, Numidia (modern-day Algeria), around 354 CE. He went to school at both Madaura and Carthage, where he learned grammar and rhetoric, before settling in Rome. While his mother was a Christian, his father was raised as a pagan until turning to Christianity, maybe on his deathbed, later in life. Years later, in his Confessions, Augustine would acknowledge that he had lived the life of a “libertine,” even admitting to having fathered a child of his own. Lord, please make me chaste, but not yet,” he says in one of his well-known quotes.

  • Mankind was a blend of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Gnosticism, and it preached of the duality of good and evil, in which humanity was both somewhat good and entirely bad at the same time.
  • Both Plotinus’ theories and Neo-Platonic philosophy were integrated into the Church’s understanding of the nature of reality, with the belief that genuine insight could only be obtained by faith.
  • He then flew to Rome, where he was offered a post as the municipal professor of rhetoric in the Italian city of Milan.
  • In Milan, he became acquainted with the renowned theologian Bishop Ambrose (339-397 CE), who had combined Christianity with the teachings of the Athenian philosopher Plato during the time he spent there.
  • He would utilize his newly discovered enthusiasm for Neo-Platonism to defend and confirm Christian doctrine in the years to come.
  • “Socrates was the first to channel the entire body of philosophy into an ethical framework for the development and management of morality,” he asserted of Socrates.

As a source of inspiration, Augustine resorted to a boyhood favorite and source of inspiration: the Roman statesman and oratorCicero, as well as his study of philosophy in the philosopherHortensius Upon his conversion to Christianity, he was baptized in 387 CE and traveled to Hippo in North Africa, where he was consecrated as a priest, eventually rising to the rank of bishop in 395 CE.


Augustine’s works fall on the precipice of theological and philosophical traditions. He is a prolific author, and his significant works include the following:

  • On the borderline between theology and philosophy, Augustine’s writings can be found. Among his many published works are the following:

Among his lesser-known publications are: Do you enjoy history? Subscribe to our free weekly email newsletter!

  • The following are examples of lesser-known writings: Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter today.

His writings served as an intellectual basis for Christianity, which some people considered heretical at the time. While both philosophy and religion were devoted to the pursuit of truth, Augustine felt that only Christianity was the true truth and that, without faith, philosophy could never achieve truth. Both Plotinus’ theories and Neo-Platonic philosophy were incorporated into the Church’s understanding of the nature of reality, which held that genuine insight could only be obtained by faith.

Saint Augustine in His Cell (Saint Augustine in His Cell) Sandro Botticelli is a painter who lives in Florence, Italy (Public Domain)

The City of God

His most renowned work, The City of God, was written following the fall of Rome by the Visigoths in 410 CE. It is considered to be his best work. Each individual in this city of God is a citizen of two other planets at the same time, and this is known as dual citizenship. The one is the kingdom of God, which is unchanging and everlasting, and the other, which was not a novel concept to many Christians, was the kingdom of the unstable world, which was not a new concept to many Christians. Augustine wrote The City of God in order to rebut pagan claims that the collapse of the Roman Empire in the Western world was caused by the people’s abandonment of the ancient gods in favor of Christianity, which he believed to be untrue.

Despite the fact that many Romans continued to believe in their own narrative of the empire’s demise, Augustine maintained that the empire’s prosperity had been mostly due to its desire to rule the world.

Unlike the city of the world, where both the rulers and the people they control are dominated by the desire for dominion, all members of the City of God serve one another in the spirit of kindness.

The Question of Free Will

The concept of free will was one of the areas in which Augustine was criticized, and this was one of those areas. How can people retain their ability to choose if God is all-knowing? This disagreement was on the verge of devolving into predestination, which was not formally embraced by the Church at the time. It would not be until the Reformation and the arrival of John Calvin that it would become the mainstream theory. While Augustine thought that God may be all-knowing, he argued that this had no influence on the concept of free will.

  • As a matter of fact, Augustine distinguished between two sorts of evil: moral sins such as murder and human pillage, and natural ills such as earthquakes and tidal waves, among others.
  • To be virtuous is to exercise control over one’s own will; God is only a guidance.
  • Augustine’s Waver) (CC BY-NC-ND) Augustine also made an attempt to define the notion of original sin in his writings.
  • After choosing to defy God, Adam and Eve brought about widespread human misery as a result of their actions.
  • Augustine stated in his work The City of God that “a great deal has been thought, said, and written” about the Garden of Eden, the bliss that was attainable there, the existence of our first parents, their transgression, and their punishment.

A decision has been taken in regards to the welfare of mankind. Those who live according to man are on one side of the spectrum, while those who live according to God are on the other. (Gochberg, 632) One receives the reward of heaven, and the other receives the penalty of hell.


430 CE saw the Vandals take Augustine’s homeland of Hippo, but he would not survive to see his home city surrendered to the Vandals. Even when the Vandals lay siege to Hippo, Augustine stayed, defiantly refusing to depart. He died on the 28th of August, 430 CE, after succumbing to a sickness and requesting isolation and seclusion. When Pope BonifaceVIII (r. 1294-1303 CE) declared him to be the patron saint of brewers and printers, the Catholic Church established August 28 as Saint Joseph’s Day to commemorate him.

However, it was during this time period that organized religion was established, and Augustine’s theology played an important role in the development of not only Christianity but also Western intellectual thinking throughout this century.

Augustine’s ideas would also be used by future philosophers such as Rene Descartes, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche.

Prior to publication, this paper was checked for correctness, dependability, and conformance to academic standards by two independent reviewers.

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