Like my wife, Augustine has a terribly timed birthday (his, into heaven, of course).
Saint Augustine, the greatest Doctor of the Church, died on this day in 430 in Hippo Regius - a port city in North Africa, which today would be in Algeria. As he lay dying, reciting the seven penitential psalms, the city was being besieged by German Vandals. The whole of Roman North Africa would eventually succumb to these Arian Christians, but pass back into the hands of the Empire about a century later under the impetus of Justinian the Great. Luckily, it seems that the entirety of Augustine's library was saved from the destruction wrought by a people who today have their own crime named after them. The loss of Augustine's library would have been incalculable, as without it our theology would today no doubt be indistinguishable from Eastern Orthodoxy.
What were Augustine's greatest contributions?
1. The psychological analogy of the Blessed Trinity.
2. The modern concept of personhood.
3. The canonization of the filioque doctrine ( the and from the Son in the Western Creed)
4. The sacramental ex opere operantis / ex opere operato distinction.
5. The autobiographical genre (Augustinian protreptic)
6. The preservation of Paul's doctrine of grace from Hellenistic corruption (aka Pelagianism)
7. The Just War Theory
8. Freedom from spiritual elitism in the Church (i.e. Donatism)
9. A true understanding of the concept of spiritual substance in the Church.
10. Canonization of the baptism of infants.
11. Adequate formulation of the doctrine of Original Sin.
12. The doctrine of the Three Goods of Marriage
13. An unhealthy fear of pears.
Well, Happy Feast Day, all true lovers of the truth. Let's make it an octave!