Skip to comments.Pope to Visit Tomb of St. Augustine
Posted on 04/21/2007 6:22:28 AM PDT by NYer
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Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges the crowd during his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 18, 2007. The pontiff celebrated his 80th birthday on Monday, April 16, and April 19th marks his second year of pontificate. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is traveling to northern Italy for a weekend pilgrimage that will take him to the tomb of St. Augustine, the 5th century theologian who is particularly dear to him.
Benedict is scheduled to celebrate Mass on Saturday afternoon in Vigevano, southwest of Milan, and then on Sunday in Pavia, where the remains of St. Augustine lie in the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro.
During the trip, the pontiff is expected to visit a local hospital and deliver a speech on culture at Pavia's university.
St. Augustine, who lived from 354-430, had a tremendous impact on Christianity and his writings _ among them "City of God" and "Confessions" _ are considered by many to be the foundations of western theology.
Benedict is particularly fond of St. Augustine and wrote his doctoral thesis on him in 1953. This year marks the 750th anniversary of the formation of the Augustinians as a single religious order.
Unlike his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, the 80-year-old Benedict has limited his travel. In his two-year pontificate, he has made only a handful of pilgrimages within Italy and beyond. He is due to travel to Brazil next month _ his first trip to the Americas as pope.
EWTN will provide full coverage beginning at 4:30am Eastern Time. Thank you, Mother Angelica, and "Happy 84th Birthday!"
I have naot thought of St. Augustine in years. Perhaps it is time for me to really read his work instead of just reading excerpts.
God bless and keep B16.
**Benedict is particularly fond of St. Augustine and wrote his doctoral thesis on him in 1953. **
Hmmm, how interesting it would be to get a copy of that!
Please fill me in on this bit of history. When was the body of Augustine moved to Italy?
I have his Confessions, a very good read.
Yeah, me too. I didn’t know that it had, or I would have visted his tomb.
A view of the San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro basilica, during a ceremony by Pope Benedict XVI before the remains of Augustine, in Pavia, northern Italy, Sunday, April 22, 2007.
Pope Benedict XVI greets youths as he arrives at the University in Pavia, northern Italy, Sunday, April 22, 2007.
From a Georgetown professor's visit to Hippo Regius:
The modern basilica is of less interest to students of Augustine but of no small interest to the history of French colonialism and modern Catholicism. Inter alia, it houses what is soberly presented as Augustine's elbow. The story has it that Augustine's remains were removed from Africa either in the time of the Vandals (430-534) or in the face of the Islamic invasions (taking Carthage in 698) to Sardinia, and thence removed again to Pavia, where they lie today in the same church as the remains of Boethius. Whatever the truth of that story, it was French colonialism and French Catholicism together than made representations in the nineteenth century that it was only appropriate that some piece of Augustine's remains return to Hippo. Thus in 1842, an elaborate ecclesiastical pilgrimage from Pavia to Bône (as Hippo/Annaba was then known) brought Augustine's elbow. (The traveling reliquary from that translation was on display in the lobby of Annaba's theater in a small exhibit during our visit.) The elbow has now been inserted for veneration in the anatomically appropriate spot in a large carved figure of the saint, recumbent behind the main altar of the basilica. The church is served to this day by Augustinian priests (the archbishop of Algiers, we were told, numbers about 10,000 catholics in his flock and comes himself from metropolitan France). Plaques on the side walls of the basilica memorialize various benefactors, including a number of Americans and, in at least one case an entire American military unit from World War II. (One apology will stand for all here: we traveling Augustine scholars were acutely aware how ill-informed we were about much local history. On return to the US, I find that the theatre, for example, is a 1940s reconstruction after bombing that destroyed the nineteenth century house on the same site.)
Wonderful! Thank you for the pictures!
I live in St. Augustine, Florida, btw. It was the custom of the Spanish to name the town after the feast day of the saint on which the town was founded. When they were sent by the King to set up colony in North Florida in 1565, the Spaniards first saw land on August 28, the Feast of St. Augustine, but the land they saw was the present day Cape Canaveral, which has no good landing site. They sailed up until they got to the St. Augustine inlet, which had been explored earlier by Ponce de Leon, and said the first Mass and founded the town on Sept. 8, 1565. And they named it St. Augustine because they had first seen land on the feast of St. Augustine.
Pope Benedict XVI prays before the remains of St Augustine during a visit to the northern Italy city of Pavia April 22, 2007.
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