Our celebration today honours two saints who were friends of St Augustine and members of his first religious community. Like him they were also called to ministry as bishops in N. Africa.
Alypius was born in the middle of the 4th century in Tagaste, Africa, to parents who were influential citizens of that city. He studied law in Rome, but first met Augustine while at school in Carthage. Augustine praised Alypius, whom he called “the brother of my heart”, for his honesty, sincerity and sense of justice.
Like Augustine, Alypius was at one time a Manichean. The two friends were both converted to the Catholic faith and were baptized together by St Ambrose in 387. When Augustine was ordained a priest in Hippo, and founded a community there, Alypius joined him, and was subsequently ordained bishop of Tagaste around 384. He once travelled to the East, where he met St Jerome. He took part in the African Councils of the Church during his time as bishop, and was chosen along with Possidius and Augustine to represent the Catholic bishops at the famous meeting with the Donatists in Carthage in 411. He took part in the Council of Milevi (Numidia) in 416 and composed a written report on this Council for Pope Innocent. Alypius travelled to Italy several times as part of his opposition to the Pelagian heresy. He carried Augustine’s writings with him in order to present them to Pope Boniface. It is believed that he was present at the death of Augustine in 430. Alypius died shortly after.
Possidius, the first biographer of Augustine, was born in N. Africa, and became a member of Augustine’s first monastic community, along with St Alypius. He was named Bishop of Calama (Numidia), where he faced opposition from the Donatists. Possidius narrowly escaped death on one occasion when Donatist extremists set fire to a house where he was visiting.
In 437 Possidius was exiled by King Hunmeric, who suppressed Christianity and forced Arianism on the territories that he conquered. During this time of exile, Possidius completed his famous book, The Life of Augustine. He died in exile around the year 437.
This history was taken from: