Wednesday, November 13, 2013
November 13 - Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo, known as Saint Augustine, was born on November 13, 354 CE, in Roman North Africa, in what is now Algeria. His mother, Monica, was a Christian; his father was a pagan who accepted Christianity on his deathbed. As a teen in the city of Carthage, Augustine indulged in worldly excesses and fathered a son. His spiritual struggle led him to be influenced by Manichaeism – a dualistic philosophy that divides the world between good and evil – and then Neo-Platonism, which posits a single divine source from which all existence emanates, with which souls seek to mystically unite. In Italy, Augustine studied with Ambrose, the Christian bishop of Milan. At age 33, while prostrate beneath a fig tree, he experienced a spiritual epiphany through a stream of tears, and was baptized a Christian. He documented his sinful youth and conversion to Christianity in his Confessions, written between 397 and 398 CE, regarded as the first formal autobiography to appear in the Western world. In a famous passage, Augustine marvels that Ambrose read manuscripts in silence, without vocalizing the text.