Saint Augustine, also known as Augustine of Hippo, Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis, Saint Austin, or Blessed Augustine, was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in Numidia (Roman province of Africa). He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions. He lived from 13 November 354 to 28 August 430.
According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith.”In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory.
When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the pre-Schism Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine’s City of God.
In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint, a preeminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, the alleviation of sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of the Protestant Reformation due to his teachings on salvation and divine grace.
In the East, some of his teachings are disputed and have in the 20th century, in particular, come under attack by such theologians as Father John Romanides. But other theologians and figures of the Orthodox Church have shown significant appropriation of his writings, chiefly Father Georges Florovsky. The most controversial doctrine surrounding his name is the filioque, which has been rejected by the Orthodox Church. Other disputed teachings include his views on original sin, the doctrine of grace, and predestination. Nevertheless, though considered to be mistaken on some points, he is still considered a saint, and has even had influence on some Eastern Church Fathers, most notably Saint Gregory Palamas. In the Orthodox Church his feast day is celebrated on 28 August and carries the title of Blessed.
Not well known among the masses, Saint Augustine was a powerful Thaumaturge, who utilized a form of Thaumaturgy known as Luminomancy. As a result he often found himself pitted against demonic creatures and dark thaumaturges in the early days of the church. It is believed that within the Augustinian order, a subset of monks known as the Order of Celestial Light exists, whose purpose is the persecution of dark creatures from the Never-Never.
Though often seen portrayed with a crooked crozier, Saint Augustine forged his own processional cross, which he imbued with thaumaturgical abilities, which are said to negate certain (although undefined) types of thaumaturgy, while enhancing others. It is commonly known as Saint Augustine’s Cross .