When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the 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 On the Trinity.
Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fountainheads of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In Orthodox Churches he is considered a saint by some while others are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily for his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause.
Born in Africa as the eldest son of Saint Monica, he was educated in Rome and baptized in Milan. Augustine drifted through several philosophical systems before converting to Christianity at the age of thirty-one. Returning to his homeland soon after his conversion, he was ordained a presbyter in 391, taking the position as bishop of Hippo in 396, a position which he held until his death.
St. Augustine stands as a powerful advocate for orthodoxy and of the episcopacy as the sole means for the dispensing of saving grace. In the light of later scholarship, Augustine can be seen to serve as a bridge between the ancient and medieval worlds. A review of his life and work, however, shows him as an active mind engaging the practical concerns of the churches he served.
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