St Augustine of Hippo was born at Thagaste in North Africa, in AD
354. The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, he was
brought up as a Christian. In 375 he was converted to the Manichean
religion, but after agonising inward conflict, he renounced all his
unorthodox beliefs and was baptised in 387. He then returned to
Africa and formed his own community, but in 391 he was ordained
priest against his wishes, and five years later he was chosen
bishop of Hippo.
For 34 years St Augustine lived in community with his cathedral clergy. He died in 430 as invading Vandals were besieging Hippo.
R.S. Pine-Coffin, a Roman Catholic, was born in 1917. He was educated at Ampleforth and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He died in 1992.