An important international congress on Augustinian historical studies was held in Rome from 16th-21st October. The event, organised by the Institutum Historicum Augustinianum, brought together various specialist historians and researchers of hagiography from the Augustinian world to examine and discuss the theme “Augustinian Hagiography: History, Devotion and Hagiographic Politics in the Order of St Augustine”
Among its varied activities, the Institutum Historicum Augustinianum, founded by the Order in 1969, organises a triennial congress, with the aim of facilitating the meeting of people and the sharing of Augustinian-related historical research from both the religious and lay worlds. During the proceedings, the delegates have the opportunity to present their most recent papers, and there are various cultural initiatives running at the same time.
This congress was launched by Prior General Fr Alejandro Moral Anton, who emphasised the importance of historical research in promoting the identity and mission of the Order. The President of the Institute, Fr Isaac Gonzalez OSA, then opened the proceedings, inviting delegates to bring to life the holiness of the past in language relevant to our times.
Twenty papers were given during the congress, and all delegates (both religious and lay) had ample opportunity to dig deep into the many facets of the theme and openly discuss multiple issues that emerged and which related to the complex world of Augustinian hagiography.
The conference offered the chance to explore an interdisciplinary perspective on both the various hagiographical phenomena that have developed during the life of the Order, as well as the analysis of specific cases illustrating some political choices made at different times in order to promote Augustinian spirituality. In addition to scheduled conference sessions, there were additional, and fruitful, opportunities for delegates to share ideas and perspectives, promoting dialogue and collaboration among scholars from different academic traditions from a wide geographic spread of institutions in countries such as Italy, Spain, Malta, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, the Philippines, Ireland and the United States of America.
The success of this International Congress demonstrates the importance of continuing to explore and understand this legacy, encouraging a critical reading of the source materials for a better understanding, giving consideration to our current needs, as well as keeping alive a rich legacy in scholarly research and the tradition of the Order.