Augustine of Hipona Biography

Aurelio Augustine of Hipona, Aurelius Augustinus (Numidia, Tagaste, 13 November 354 A.D. – Hipona, 28 August 430 A.D.).

Also known as Saint Augustine, he was a Christian Bishop, Theologian and Philosopher, born in Roman Africa, considered one of the four Fathers of the Church and of the greatest Christian philosophers.

His work constitutes for the Catholic Church the most important text of Theology. His influence and predilection for Plato’s work would mark the influence of this Greek philosopher on Western thought, which until the 13th century, in the Middle Ages, would be governed through Platonic-Augustinian philosophy, which is why St. Augustine is also had as one of the most influential people in history.

Early years

St. Augustine was born in the city of Numidia, in Tagaste, a country belonging to the African territory, dominated by the Roman Empire. His father, whose name was Patrick, was engaged in commerce and his religion was pagan.

His mother, Monica, in converting to Christianity, tried to instill religion in her son from an early age. After completing his first studies, St. Augustine was sent by his father to Madaura, to begin his studies in Grammar. He then knew the love of the Letters, reading with great enthusiasm the Greek Literature.

In Carthage he studied rhetoric and became deeply interested in the Theatre. He also began to be recognized for his rhetorical and poetic talent, winning numerous competitions. Likewise, as St. Augustine himself referred to in his work Confessions, the time in Carthage was marked by the search for pleasure.

At the age of 19, he began a stable relationship with a woman with whom he had his only child, whom they named Adeodato.

Spiritual quest

Cicero’s reading marked the beginning of a great interest in the study of Philosophy. He then devoted his studies to a stream of thought that would satisfy his concerns.

On the way to finding a belief based on reason and not just faith, he finally embraced Malicqueism, which produced a deep affliction in his mother, Monica, who then decided to give himself to prayer and sacrifice, whose Christian fervor made him worthy of being sanctified.

For his part, St. Augustine professed Maniqueism fervently for some years in which he was recognized for his eloquence and for being a great practitioner. Likewise, at this time he entered astrology. In 379 A.D. his studies and eagerness for knowledge made him feel increasingly empty in the face of this current which, although he defined the opposition of good and evil, did not offer a solution to this duality.

In the midst of his spiritual quest, in 383 A.D., he decided to undertake a trip to Rome, where his friend Simaco, who served as prefect of Rome, helped him to get a position as imperial speaker of Mediolanum (located in the present-day territory of Milan, Italy) becoming also in Bishop Ambrosio’s rival in Oratory.

St. Augustine was fascinated by the verb of this bishop during his preaching. He began to attend the liturgy, and began reading to the platonics and letters of Paul of Tars.

Finally, in 385 A.D., St. Augustine broke definitively with Manichiism and converted to Christianity, embraced ascesis as a way of life, and gave himself up to the study of Christian thought. A year later he went to Casiciaco with his mother and a group of companions, in order to give himself up to study and worship of God.

In 387 A.D., he was baptized in the Catholic faith by Bishop Ambrose. Later, he decided to return to Africa, but before leaving his mother died. Already in his native country, St. Augustine sold all his assets and the money from the sale distributed it among the poor.

Together with a group of companions he moved to a secluded place, where he established a Monastery. In 391 A.D., despite his resistance to leaving the monastic life to which he was consecrated, he assumed the priesthood. In 395 A.D. he was ordained as bishop of Hippo, however he transformed the episcopal house into a monastery.

Augustinian thought and final years

From then on his activity as a preacher, theologian and writer is extensive. He is dissitured and theologically confronted with other currents of thought, whom he overcomes with his great talents for rhetoric. He became part of the Third Council of Hippo, developed in 393 A.D., as well as in the III and IV of Carthage, which occurred in 397 and 419 A.D. respectively, which he came to preside over.

His written work was prolific, highlighting among them the texts Letters to Friends, adversaries, foreigners, faithful and pagans, as well as his Soliloquies, Confessions and the City of God which concern the knowledge, memory, wisdom and salvation of the soul human on the part of God, with whom he meets through love and through spiritual interiority, coming out of sin, and achieving his journey from the finite to the infinite.

Finally, during the invasion of the Barbarians in their city, St. Augustine became seriously ill, dying on August 28, 430 A.D. His body currently rests in the basilica of San Pietro in Pavia.

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Augustine of Hipona Biography
Source: Education  
July 28, 2019

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