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Saint Augustine, “the Knowledgable One”

Saint Augustine

The birth of Saint Augustine in 354 is celebrated on this date. He was a Black North African Saint, Philosopher, and Doctor.

He was the eldest son of Saint Monica of Saint Augustine. Aurelius Augustinus (his birth name) was born in the municipium of Thagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman North Africa. His mother, Monica, was a devout Christian; his father Patricius was a Pagan who converted to Christianity on his deathbed.  Scholars believe that Augustine's ancestors included Berbers, Latins, and Phoenicians. He considered himself to be Punic and as "an African, writing of Africa."

Augustine was educated in Rome, and a Milanese by baptism. He spent his early years in what is now know as Souk-Ahras, Algeria. Often called Augustine of Hippo, "The knowledgeable one," by the Roman Catholic Church, he was considered by Evangelical Protestants to be (together with the Apostle Paul and the Bible) the theological fountainhead of the Reformation teaching on salvation and grace.

His famous autobiography, “Confessions,” spotlights the tormented self-deprecation that underpins Augustine’s theology and flavors over a century of Christian faith. Saint Augustine still inspires many Christians all over the world.

In his writings, Augustine left some information as to the consciousness of his African heritage. For example, he refers to Apuleius as "the most notorious of us Africans," to Ponticianus as "a countryman of ours, insofar as being African," and to Faustus of Mileva as "an African Gentleman"  Saint Augustine died on August 28, 430, as vandals were besieging the city of Hippo; that is now the date that Catholics honor him.

Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1999
ISBN 0-465-0071-1

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