Vatican City

Pope helps restore Algerian church of St. Augustine

Basilica overlooks ruins of ancient Hippo

Pope helps restore Algerian church of St. Augustine

(ANSA) - Vatican City, August 24 - Pope Benedict XVI has made a personal contribution to help finance the restoration of a basilica in Algeria dedicated to St. Augustine. The basilica in Annaba stands on a hill overlooking the ruins of Hippo, where St. Augustine was bishop from 395 to 430 AD, according to the Saturday issue of L'Osservatore Romano. Restoration work began last year on the basilica, which boasts architectural details in both the Arabic-Moorish and Roman-Byzantine styles. Also contributing to restoration of the century-old church are public authorities in France and Algeria, private donors, some religious orders and dioceses. "We all know that St. Augustine is dear to the Pope's heart," said the Bishop of Constantine-Hippo, Msgr. Paul Desfarges, The basilica and hill of Hippo are more than places of worship but are also symbols of spiritual and human brotherhood, "infused" with the spirit of St. Augustine, added the bishop. Born in what is now known as Algeria, Augustine was a Latin philosopher and theologian who is generally considered one of Christianity's greatest thinkers.

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