The Ark of St. Augustine

The presbytery is dominated by the marble Ark of St Augustine, raised on a crypt. This is a masterpiece of Lombard sculpture of the fourteenth century. Decorated with 95 statues and 50 bas-reliefs, the work was commissioned by Bonifacio Bottigella, Prior of the Augustinians, then Bishop of Lodi and a native of Pavia. It is a small encyclopaedic illustration of the faith of the theological, cardinal and monastic virtues. Some episodes of the life of St Augustine, the Great Doctor of the Church, are also portrayed: his conversion, his baptism administered by St Ambrose, the miracles after his death -430 AD – and the transfer of his relics to Pavia. Behind the Ark, in the floor, is a portion of octagonal mosaic from the ancient Cathedral of Hippo, of which Augustine was bishop from 395 to 430 AD. The fresco that covers the vault of the apse dates to 1900. On a background of false golden mosaic the figure of the Re deemer seated on his throne dominates. He is flanked by St Peter Apostle and by St Augustine with his mother St Monica.