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His tomb - 02a

St Augustine : Bones of Augustine in a glass-sided urn Church of S. Pietro in Ciel dOro Pavia, Italy
Bones of Augustine
in a glass-sided urn
Church of S. Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
Liutprand, King of the Lombards, when the Saracens invaded Sardinia, redeemed the body of Augustine about the year 720.

He brought it with great ceremony to Pavia, and enshrined it in the Church of Saint Peter in Ciel d'oro, which was then the cathedral (main church) of Pavia.

Liutprand took care to have the body of Augustine hidden with the utmost care under a brick wall in a coffin of lead enclosed in another of silver. (Liutprand is also buried in this church.)
All of this was then placed within a coffin of marble, upon which in many places was engraved the name Augustinus.
Liutprand entrusted the bones of Augustine and the Church of Saint Peter in Ciel d'oro to the Order of Saint Benedict (the Benedictines).

In the twelfth century, Pope Honorius III (pope in 1216-1227), who himself had been one of the Canons Regular of Saint Augustine, insisted that the church be placed in the charge of the Augustinians Canons.
About a century later, the matter became embroiled in national and ecclesiastical politics. Northern Italy became a battleground between the Guelph and Ghibelline factions of secular politics.

The Augustinian Canons inclined towards the Ghibellines, whereas the pope of the time, Pope John XXII in Avignon, was supported by the Guelphs.
The Order of Saint Augustine was pro-papal, and John XXII in 1327 decreed that the Order of St Augustine could share with the Augustinian Canons the custody of the tomb of Augustine.
The papal decree lacked details as to how this arrangement was supposed to work. And it did not work. After much contention and even physical violence, an unsatisfactory arrangement was brought into place.

The church was divided along an east/west line, by which one order had the entrance on the north side of the cathedral, and the other order the entrance on the south side.
The main altar which incorporated the monumental tomb of Augustine would be in the care of each order in alternate months. In the absence of any other solution, the unusual arrangement persisted. Eventually the Order of Saint Augustine was granted sole custody of both the church and the tomb.
(Continued on the next page.)


His tomb - 02a
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