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Archive for October 3rd, 2012


Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), bishop and Doctor of the Church is best known for his Confessions (401), his autobiographical account of his conversion. The term augustinianism evolved from his writings that had a profound influence on the church.

Augustine was born at Tagaste (now Algeria) in North Africa on 13 November, 354. His father, Patricius, while holding an official position in the city remained a pagan until converting on his deathbed. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian.
At the encouragement of Monica, his extensive religious education started in the schools of Tagaste (an important part of the Roman Empire) and Madaura until he was sixteen. He was off to Carthage next in 370, but soon fell to the pleasures and excesses of the half pagan city’s theatres, licentiousness and decadent socialising with fellow students. After a time he confessed to Monica that he had been living in sin with a woman with whom he had a son in 372, Adeodatus, (which means Gift of God).

Still a student, and with a newfound desire to focus yet again on exploration of his faith, in 373 Augustine became a confirmed Manichaean, much against his mother’s wishes. In his thirties, his spiritual journey led him away from Manichaeism after nine years because of disagreement with its cosmology and a disenchanting meeting with the celebrated Manichaean bishop, Faustus of Mileve.

Passing through yet another period of spiritual struggle, Augustine went to Italy in 383, became a pupil of Ambrose. At the age of thirty-three, the epiphany and clarity of purpose which Augustine had sought for so long finally came to him in Milan in 386. He was baptised by Ambrose in 387 much to the eternal delight of his mother, “..nothing is far from God.”
After the death of his mother Augustine now returned to his native Tagaste. He was ordained as priest in 391.

For the next five years Augustine’s priestly life was fruitful, consisting of administration of church business, always the defender of truth and a compassionate shepherd of souls. At the age of forty-two he became coadjutor-bishop of Hippo. From 396 till his death in 439, he ruled the diocese alone. At that point the Roman Empire was in disintegration, and at the time of his death the Vandals where at the gates of Hippo. He died on 28 August, 430, in the seventy-sixth year of his age. Saint Augustine is often depicted as one of the Four Latin Doctors in many paintings, frescoes etc., “Unhappy is the soul enslaved by the love of anything that is mortal.”
Saint Augustine’s books, essays and letters of Christian Revelation are probably more influential in the history of Catholic Church than any other Christian writer since St. Paul. He represents the first Christian philosophy of history. He also wrote of the controversies with Manicheans, Pelagians, and Donatists which helped lead to his ideas on Creation, Grace, the Sacraments and the Church. There is a massive collection of his writings and they also include: Soliloquies (386-387), On Grace and Free Will. (426) Retractions (426-427) and Letters (386-430).(ack: C.D. Merriman/ Jalic Inc.)
benny

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