Augustine of Hippo

On 28 August 430 AD Augustin of Hippo died during the siege of Hippo Regius, a small port city in north Africa, where he was bishop. His teaching and writings have had a huge influence on the Christian church. He was a great theologian and philosopher who has been both condemned and admired by later Christian thinkers. He is often quoted as an authority, but he had a realistic and humble view of his limitations. 

My favorite story about him is how he wrestled to understand the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Don't we all? He wanted to be able to explain it. Can anyone? Here's my version of the story:

As Augustine walked by the sea shore he saw a child alone on the beach, doing what children must always have done on a sandy beach. She dug a hole in the sand, then ran with her small cup to fill it in the sea. She returned to her hole in the sand and poured in the cup-full of sea water. She did it again and again. Augustine approached her and asked what she was doing. She told him she was trying to empty the sea into the hole in the sand. Augustine asked how she thought she could possibly empty the great sea into the small hole? The child replied, "And how with your small head can you understand the immensity of God?" Then the child vanished. 

Image Credit: Photo by Haags Uitiburo on Flickr, CC License
In the Oud-Catholieke Kerk in The Hague is an early 18th century pulpit with a sculpture of St Augustine of Hippo. This photo is a detail of that sculpture. 


  1. Did you know that St.Augustine is the patron saint of brewers?

    1. Just noticed I didn't reply to this comment. No I didn't know he is patron saint of brewers but I do like the occasional Augustinian beer!


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