During the last years of Augustine’s life the collapse of the Roman Empire continued apace. In 428 A.D. the Vandals invaded the North African provinces, and by May 430 they had reached the gates of Hippo. Four months after the beginning of the year-long siege, Augustine died, on August 28, 430. His saint’s day is now celebrated on the anniversary of this date. Augustine was widely regarded as a saint immediately after his death. (Canonisation as a formal process occurred only at the end of the first millennium.)
The Vandals soon overran the whole of North Africa, and in 497 their king, Thrasamund, expelled the Catholic bishops from Numidia. When the bishops left they took the body of Augustine with them to Sardinia. Here it remained until the Saracen invasions of the eighth century, when King Luitprand of the Lombards ransomed Augustine’s relics and had them brought by his knights to Pavia in Italy, where they remain to this day. As you walk down the Strada Nuovo, you come to the beautifully named San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro (St Peter in the Golden Heavens). Inside this twelfth-century Lombard-Romanesque church, by the high altar, you can see the ornate marble reliquary that contains the mortal remains of St Augustine of Hippo.