Alipius was a fellow-townsman of Saint Augustine, and for some years his pupil. Whilst a catechumen he was carried away, like his master, by the delusions of the Manichees; yet he retained in a remarkable degree an innocence of heart which rendered vice distasteful to him. His unsensuality was felt as a keen reproach by his ardent master, and helped to feed the fire of compunction in which Augustine was finally purified. On the other hand, Augustine’s prudent exhortations stood Alipius in good stead on various occasions. Twice, at Carthage and at Rome, he was nearly ruined by bad companions; but the two friends were preserved for Heaven and for one another. When the hour of Augustine’s conversion came, Alipius was beside him. Together they entered that famous garden, for both the arena in which the battle of their life was fought. Together they were baptised, and together left Italy for their native Africa. They lived together first at Tagaste, afterwards at Hippo, until Alipius was made bishop of the former city in 392.
As bishops their intercourse was continual; and although Alipius ever loved to hide his aureole in his master’s brightness, the keen eyes of Saints like Saint Jerome could detect his effective co-operation in Saint Augustine’s greatest achievements. Together they went to their reward in the year 430.
A man’s worst enemies are those who lead him into sin; his best friends those who keep him from it. Through faithfully cleaving to Saint Augustine, Alipius shared in the grace of his conversion. This friendship became the more intense as it became holier; so that, years after his conversion, Saint Augustine could write to Saint Jerome, “Any one who knows us would say, that he and I are only twain in body, not in soul.”
“When we carelessly make friends with wicked persons, we become involved in their sins, and our life is in discordance with Him who is perfect righteousness, in proportion as it harmonises with the friendship of the bad.” — Saint Gregory
Alipius was one day carried off by bad companions to the amphitheatre. At first he protested, and shut his eyes; but yielding a little, as Saint Augustine says, “he was not now the man he came, but one of the crowd with which he had mingled.”
Separate thyself from thine enemies, and take heed of thy friends. A faithful friend is a strong defence, and he that hath found him hath found a treasure. —Ecclus. 6:13,14
- Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Alipius, Bishop”. , 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 24 March 2015. Web. 29 March 2017. <>