Algeria’s Saint Augustine of Hippo

Saint Augustine of Hippo was known for the influence he had in developing Western Christianity as we see it today. He was born in 354, Tagaste in Algeria, a Roman city in North Africa, and is recognized by numerous Christian groups for the improvements he made on the teachings of salvation and grace. He was the eldest son of his mother Monica, who was given sainthood and his father, Patricius, who was a pagan.

Notwithstanding his mother’s influence over his religious standing as a youngster, Saint Augustine still made the stand to follow the Manichaean religion, a move his mother was not too happy about.

Saint Augustine was educated in Rome where he later taught and completed his baptismal in Milan. However before this he had led a completely different lifestyle to his later years, it was a completely hedonistic lifestyle, which included a fifteen-year relationship with a woman who he later had a son with. He was educated in philosophy, public speaking and the art of persuasion and would later use this at the court of Milan where a professor of public speaking was needed. This position was considered an outstanding and prestigious move that could later lead to a political career if he so desired.

His mother and the bishop of Milan tried to persuade Augustine to become a Catholic but after abandoning Manichaeism he decided to move towards Neoplatonism, a pagan religion. His love life was equally confused, after having left his concubine he took on another lover while waiting for his fiancée, arranged by his mother, to come of age. Later on his life took another tumble as he became more skeptical about his religion, his teaching as well as his public-speaking career especially after having read about Saint Anthony. From there he decided to take the step toward Christianity and serve God completely in every sense of the matter, which included celibacy.

Today his spiritual journey can still be read in one of his famous books the ‘Confessions’ which is being read by many today. At the age of 37 years he was ordained as a priest and became a well-known preacher in Algeria in the Hippo Regius. Saint Augustine continued to attain spiritual recognition and was soon made an assistant to the bishop of Hippo, which meant that upon the death of the bishop of Hippo he would be the next in line. On the 28th of August 430, Augustine died at the remarkable old age of 75 years.