The collect for today, the Feast of St Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo, Doctor of the Church (source):
O merciful Lord,
who didst turn Augustine from his sins to be a faithful bishop and teacher:
grant that we may follow him in penitence and godly discipline,
till our restless hearts find their rest in thee;
through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
The mortal remains of St. Augustine rest in the church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro (St. Peter in the Sky of Gold), Pavia, Italy. Liutprand, King of the Lombards, founded the church in the early eighth century on the site of an older church of St. Peter for the purpose of housing Augustine’s relics, which had been translated from Sardinia to Pavia, capital of the Lombard Kingdom. In the 12th century, the church was re-constructed in the Romanesque style and consecrated by Pope Innocent III in 1132. It inherited the name “ciel d’oro” because the wooden ceiling of the early Christian church was decorated with gold-coloured paint.
San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro was renowned in the Middle Ages and is referenced in works by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The tombs of several important church figures are located there, including the philosopher Severino Boezio (Boethius), King Liutprand and, of course, Saint Augustine. Augustine’s magnificent marble ark was built in the second half of the fourteenth century and today dominates the presbytery, sitting above the saint’s crypt.
Augustine’s ark stands five metres high and is decorated with 95 statues and 50 bas-reliefs. Many scenes from the great doctor’s life are shown, including his conversion, his baptism administered by St. Ambrose, the burial of his mother St. Monica, the miracles after his death, and the transfer of his relics to Pavia.
The church was de-consecrated in 1799 during Napoleon’s program of suppression of religious orders in northern Italy. After falling into ruin, it was returned to its former splendour as a result of restoration work carried out between 1879 and 1901.
On 27 April 2007, Pope Benedict XVI made a pilgrimage to San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro to pray at the tomb of St Augustine.
The photographs below of St Augustine’s Ark were taken by admin on 5 May 2010. (Click on photos for enlarged views.)