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The Life of Augustine of Hippo

Part Three: The Pelagian Crisis (411–430)

Edited By Frederick Van Fleteren

The seventeenth century was the century of Saint Augustine. In 1695, Louis Sébastien, Le Nain de Tillemont, finished volume 13 of his Mémoires ecclésiastique, entitled La vie de saint Augustin. The volume consisted of approximately 1200 pages wherein Louis Sébastien gathered from the works of Augustine and elsewhere all extant passages relevant to the biography of Augustine of Hippo. Completed in 1695, the biography was published posthumously in 1700. The work lies in the tradition of Jansenism from Port-Royal and the Leuven. Though an ascetic recluse on the family estate for the last twenty years of his life, he was in touch with important French scholars and the ecclesiastical movements of his time. Louis’ work is the first modern biography of Augustine and the most comprehensive of all Augustinian biographies, even today. Modern authors consult him and frequently adopt his theories without citation. His method exercises influence on contemporary Parisian scholarship on Augustine. This English translation has been divided into three volumes covering three time periods: part 1: birth to episcopal consecration (354–396); part 2: the Donatist controversy (396–411); part 3: the Pelagian controversy (411–430).
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Article 353: Transfer of Augustine’s Body

Extract

ARTICLE 3531

Transfer of Augustine’s Body2

Charlemagne ordered Oldrad, archbishop of Milan, to examine the truth concerning the transfer of Augustine’s body thought to be in Pavia. In 796 Oldrad wrote of the kings of Lombardy culled from oral history.3 The kings of Lombardy reported Augustine’s body had been interred in the church of St. Stephen and remained there fifty-six years until Fulgentius and other African bishops exiled to Sardinia by Thrasamond brought Augustine’s body with them where it remained in Sardinia two hundred twenty-three years. A large number of miracles were performed at this site. At the end of this period in 710, when Gregory II was pope and Luitprand king of the Lombards, a group was commissioned to retrieve the body for a large sum of money from the hands of the Saracens who were ruling Sardinia. They transported the body to Pavia where it was placed in the church of St Peter on February 28. The Roman martyrology and several others indicate this transfer and various churches celebrate the feast. Following Baronius, Rivius reports Oldrad’s writing entire except for one place.4 He mentions several miracles, a few of which have been chronicled. The chronology of the transfer is confused. If Augustine’s body remained only fifty-six years in Africa it was transported to Sardinia when Huneric exiled various bishops in 484, a long time before the reign of Thrasamond and the episcopacy of Fulgentius. In this case it would have remained on this island...

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