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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Vatican City, 14 February 2012 (VIS) - Benedict XVI is among those contributing to the restoration of the Basilica of St. Augustine in the Algerian town of Annaba, work on which began last year. The church stands on a hill overlooking the ruins of Hippo, the episcopal see of that Father of the Church, and was built early last century, half in the Arab-Moorish style and half in the Romanesque-Byzantine style as a symbol of the universal appeal of the author of the "Confessions".

Speaking on Vatican Radio, Bishop Paul Desfarges S.J. of Constantine-Hippo explained that the Holy Father is making a personal contribution to the restoration work, which is being financed by the authorities in Algeria and France, as well as by a number of institutions, religious orders and benefactors. "The Papal Foundation has contributed, but the Pope has also sent a personal donation", Bishop Desfarges said. "We all know his great respect for St. Augustine. ... The restoration of the basilica means the restoration of a symbol of coexistence and fraternity between the two shores of the Mediterranean, between Christians and Muslims, between the West and Islam, between people who seek the truth".

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