Saint Augustine, theologian, philosopher, and father of the Western Church, was born in 354 C.E. in Thagaste, in Numidia. At the time of his birth, this North African province was one of the most prosperous parts of the Roman Empire. Barbarian raids along the European and Asiatic frontiers injured neither Italy nor North Africa. The Empire, whose center of power was now Constantinople, seemed still to be destined to last forever. With the conversion of the emperor Constantine in 312, Christianity became the dominant religion. Augustine’s mother Monica was a devout Christian; his father Patricius accepted baptism on his deathbed, when Augustine was seventeen.