Pavia, Italy: Tomb of Saint Augustine of Hippo
The Life of Saint Augustine of Hippo:
Saint Augustine is certainly one of the giants of the Church and hence he is not only a Saint, but a Doctor of the Church as well. His prolific writing and influence were felt throughout the Church and he became one of the most influential writers in defense of Christianity.
His early life, however, gave no clue as to the importance he would later play in the life of the Church.
Born in Africa of a pagan family, he was a follower of several heretical movements in addition to leading a sinful life before finally coming to know Christ. His mother, Saint Monica, had prayed for him throughout his life (as most mothers do) and her prayers were eventually answered. Hope for those of us who pray for our children, whether wayward or not!
Even when he accepted Christianity, he did not immediately get baptized, since he felt that he could not live up to the standards of the religion. Later, realizing what folly this was, he did get baptized and went on to become one of the Doctors of the Church. His writings were fortunately preserved and have been inspiration to countless others.
We celebrate the Feast of Saint Augustine of Hippo on August 28.
About the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro:
The remains of this famous Doctor of the Church lie here in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro (Saint Peter in Heaven Clothed in Gold). The relics of Saint Augustine are kept in a marble reliquary on the upper floor of the church. The reliquary itself is richly decorated and features stories of the Saint’s life on all four sides.
In the Middle Ages the dome of the church was covered in gold, hence the name of the Church: Saint Peter in Heaven with Gold.
The Church itself has had a tumultuous history, having once been used as stables during the Napoleanic wars, which resulted in substantial damage to the structure.
One of the Chapels is dedicated to Saint Monica, the mother of Saint Augustine who suffered greatly as she saw her son’s sinful lifestyle in his early years. Her tomb is in the Basilica of Saint Augustine in Rome.
Traveling to Pavia:
Pavia is located about 25 miles south of Milan. Train service from Milan is frequent, taking about 30 minutes. Get train & bus schedules, see fares & buy tickets here
It is a short walk from the train station to the Church. We have not found many organized tours that include Pavia, but if you are traveling independently, or just have a free day in Milan, we recommend a visit.
The city is very interesting in its architecture that will take you back to the middle ages, when it had 100 towers. Today only a few remain standing. It is also modern and home to a thriving university.
Address: Piazza San Pietro in Ciel D’Oro, 27100 Pavia PV, Italy
GPS coordinates: 45° 11′ 29.6376” N, 9° 9′ 15.3828” E
Tel: (+39) 0382 303036
e-mail: [email protected]
Click here for the official website of The Basilica of San Pietro Ciel d’Oro (in Italian–use the Google translate button