St. Aurelius Augustine (AD 354–430) is considered the greatest Church Father of Western Christianity and the greatest philosopher who wrote in Latin.
|A 6th century Roman wall-painting depicting Augustine.|
He was born in Tagaste, Numidia (now Souk-Ahras, Algeria). His father, Patricius, was a pagan who converted to Christianity just before his death, but his mother, Monica, was a godly Christian woman who prayed continuously for the salvation of her husband and her son. Augustine was educated as a rhetorician and worked as a teacher of rhetoric. He came under the influence of different pagan philosophical systems, but at the age of 32, after meeting St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, he converted to Christianity and was baptized along with his son. Afterwards, he renounced his secular career to serve God with all his mind and all his heart. Augustine fought for the case of Christianity and against pagan heresies in words, writings and deeds. He became bishop of the North African city of Hippo Regius (now Annaba, Algeria) in 395 and died there in 430, while the city was under siege by the Vandals.
Among his 93 works the best known are the Confessions (Confessiones), comprising reflections on his life and conversion, and The City of God (De civitate Dei). In the 22 books of the City of God, history is presented as a conflict between two opposing cities: the city of God (civitas Dei)—consisting of Christians—, and the city of Satan (civitas diaboli)—consisting of pagan unbelievers.
The City of God (De civitate Dei)
The 22 books of The City of God can be divided into two groups. In the first 10 books Augustine refutes polytheism and the pagan customs and philosophies of his day. The last 12 books expound the Christian faith. They describe the origin, development and destiny of the two opposing cities: the city of God and the city of Satan.
The English translation of this work can be found at numerous sites on the Internet (e.g. Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series I, Vol. II at Christian Classics Ethereal Library), therefore we will not publish it on this website.