Saint Ambrose of Milan, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

Saint Ambrose of Milan, Confessor and Doctor of the Church

Saint Ambrose of Milan was a theologian and statesman who served as Bishop of Milan from 374 to 397. He was as a public figure, fiercely promoting the Christian faith against Arianism and paganism. He left a substantial collection of writings, of which the best known include the ethical commentary De officiis ministrorum and the exegetical Exameron. His preachings, his actions and his literary works, in addition to his innovative musical hymnography, made him one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century.

He was born around 340 AD to a Roman Christian family and grew up in Trier, Belgic Gaul (present-day Germany). It is believed that when Ambrose was just an infant, a swarm of bees landed on his face and left behind a drop of honey. His father considered this as a sign that Ambrose would become someone great with a wonderful sense for speaking.

Ambrose was the Roman governor of Aemilia-Liguria in Milan when he was unexpectedly made Bishop of Milan in 374 by popular acclamation. As bishop, he stood against Arianism and attempted to mediate the conflict between the emperors Theodosius I and Magnus Maximus.

As bishop, Ambrose donated all of his land and gave his money to the poor. This made him widely popular and probably more politically powerful than even the emperor.

Augustine re-evaluated himself after meeting Ambrose and was changed forever. In 387, Ambrose baptized Augustine. St. Monica, Augustine's mother, loved Ambrose "as an angel of God who uprooted her son from his former ways and led him to his convictions of Christ."

By around 386, the Emperor Valentinian II and his mother, Justine, along with many other people professed Arianism. They demanded some of the churches in Milan be dedicated to them. Ambrose refused and was ordered to appear in front of the council, where he spoke eloquently in defence of the Church.

In his later years, Ambrose retired to Bologna and passed away on April 4, 397.

The Theological treatises of Ambrose had great influences on Popes Damasus, Siricius and Leo XIII. Ambrose studied largely on the virginity of Mary and her role as Mother of God. He viewed celibacy as superior to marriage and saw Mary as virginity's model.

Ambrose authored many of the Church's important writings and hymns. He is credited with composing the repertory Ambrosian chant, also known as the Antiphonal Chant. He is also credited with composing the hymn "Te Deum," which is believed to have been written when he baptized Augustine of Hippo.

St. Ambrose is the Confessor and Doctor of the Church. He is the patron saint of beekeepers, beggars, learning and Milan.

Other Saints of the Day
1. Saint Maria Giuseppe Rosello
2. Saint Anianas
3. Saint Polycarp and Theodore
4. Saint Servus
5. Saint Victor of Piacenza


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