In the St Fulgentius of Ruspe
Fulgentius was born about the year 462 at Telepte in present day Tunisia, then Roman North Africa. From a well-to-do family, he received a good education before taking up a significant post in the local civil service. On reading St Augustine’s’ commentary on Psalm 36 (37) he decided to live the monastic life. Finding it difficult to achieve his ambition in the circumstances of the time, under the Vandal government with its Arian heretical pressures, Fulgentius founded a monastery based on Augustine’s principles and of which he himself was Abbot. He would later go on to found several other similar monasteries in North Africa and later in Sardinia to which he would be exiled by the Arian King.
About the year 508 Fulgentius was named bishop of the small costal town of Ruspe. He accepted the appointment in true Augustinian fashion, with some reluctance but obedience to the call of the Church. Twice exiled together with his fellow bishops he was able to return to his diocese in 523 and continue his pastoral work until his death in 533. As in his love for the monastic life so too in his preaching and writing Fulgentius followed the example of Augustine, especially in regard to the Catholic teaching on grace and predestination. He was one of the most significant theologians of his day and a leading opponent of the Arian heresy. In teaching as in life Fulgentius was a faithful disciple of the Bishop of Hippo and is sometimes referred to in Church history as the shorter version of Augustine. He died on 1st January, 533.
The Augustinian family celebrates the memory of St Fulgentius of Ruspe on 3rd January.
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