Saint of the Day – Saint Alypius of Thagaste (Died 430) Bishop of the See of Thagaste (in what is now Algeria) in 394, Confessor, Reformer, Defender of the Faith against heresy, Lawyer, teacher, spiritual advisor. He was a lifelong disciple and friend of Saint Augustine of Hippo and joined him in his conversion (in 386; Confessions 8.12.28) and life in Christianity. He is credited with helping establish Augustine’s Monastery in Africa. Most of what is known about him comes from Augustine’s autobiographical Confessions. Born sometime in the middle of the fourth century in Thagaste, North Africa and died in 430 of natural causes. Also known as – Alipio, Alipius.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “In Thagaste in Africa, St Alypius Bishop, who was the friend and disciple of the blessed Augustine and the companion of his conversion, his colleague in the pastoral charge, his valiant fellow-soldier in combating heretics and, finally, his partner in the glory of Heaven.”
He was born in Thagaste (today Souk Ahras, Algeria), to parents who were part of the local noble class. Small in stature but strong-minded and virtuous in character, he established an affectionate and intimate friendship with Augustíne, to the point where they repeatedly call each other “frater cordis mei” – brother of my heart. With him he shared the errors of youth, conversion, religious life and the toil of the apostolate. Saint Augustine describes him as a person of a religious nature, of great honesty and impartiality for his love of justice.
Some years younger than his friend, he attended the grammar schools of his land and the rhetoric schools in Carthage. He preceded him to Rome, where he went to study law and later, accompanied him to Milan. In Rome he was an advisor to the distributor of subsidies to Italy and he showed signs, rare in these circumstances, of integrity and prudence. He energetically resisted the pretensions of a powerful senator who tried to induce him to commit irregularities, showing indifference, with general admiration, both in the face of threats and flattery – “A rare soul,” writes Saint Augustine, “who did not pay attention to friendship, nor did he fear the resentment of such a powerful man, famous for the innumerable means at his disposal to do good or evil. “
With his friend, Alypius lived the adventure of returning to faith. Chaste of custom, he was a great help in the fight against passions and advised against joining a woman, so as not to give up living freely in the love of wisdom. He was present in the conversion crisis and followed suit. He withdrew with Augustine to Casiciaco, where he participated in philosophical discussions and, together with him, received Baptism on 25 April 387. The following year, Alypius returned to Africa and in Thagaste, he retired with friends to cenobitic life. . In 391 he followed Augustine to the Monastery of Hipona. Soon after,, he travelled to the East and made friends with Saint Jerome. He was esteemed by Saint Paulinus of Nola, who admired his holiness and his zeal.
Elected Bishop of Thagaste, around the year 394, when Augustine was still a Priest. For almost forty years, he shone in the Church of Africa as a reformer of the clergy, teacher of monastic life (Saint Melania, the young woman, remained seven years in Thagaste under his direction) and defender of the faith against Donatists and Pelagians.
In 411 he participated in the Carthage Synod, being one of the seven Catholic Bishops who disputed with the Donatists. In 416 he participated in the Council of Milevi (Numidia) and wrote about this meeting to Pope Innocent.
For the reason of the Pelagian cause he travelled several times to Italy, taking with him the works of St Augustine to present to the Pontiff Boniface. The last news we have from him was in 428 in correspondence to Augustine.
It is believed that he was in Hippo at the time of the death of Saint Augustine and that he died in the same year ,430. He was Canonised in 1584 by Pope Gregory XIII.