Christian Cyclopedia

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(340–397). Noted leader and teacher of the W Ch.; b. Trier; educ. Rome for legal career; consular prefect for Upper It.; moved to Milan ca. 370. After the death of Auxentius* a dispute bet. orthodox and Arian parties caused a severe quarrel that threatened the peace of the city. Ambrose, as magistrate, was present to maintain order when the people, suddenly turning to him as a new candidate, transferred him from his official position to the episcopate. Since he was still a catechumen, he was baptized at once and 8 days later was consecrated bp. (374). Ambrose was distinguished for his defense of the catholic faith, opposing both paganism and heresy with equal zeal. When Theodosius* I tried to force Christians to pay for rebuilding a synagog they had destoryed, and again when he massacred thousands of people in Thessalonica for opposing imperial authority, Ambrose rebuked him and took the unprecedented step of excommunicating a Christian emp. He also set a pattern for the Middle Ages by furthering the idea that it is the state's duty to support and further the work of the ch. and the ch.'s duty to support and further the work of the state. Working together, both form the Corpus Christianum. Two of his major works are practical guides: De fide for the Christian prince; De officiis minstrorum for the clergy. All his writings show a pastoral approach. He strongly advocated ascetic Christianity: celibacy, voluntary poverty, martyrdom. He also helped develop liturgical music. Friend of Gaudentius* and Paulinus* of Nola. See also Ambrosian Music; Ambrosian Rite; Church and State; Doctor of the Church; Ecumenical Creeds, 2; Fathers of the Church; Filioque Controversy; Gervase and Protase; Hymnody, Christian, 3; Invention of the Cross, The; Marcellina; Patristics, 6; Pelagian Controversy, 2; Veni, Creator Spiritus. WWO

E. K. Rand, Founders of the Middle Ages (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1928); H. v. Campenhausen, Ambrosius von Mailand als Kirchenpolitiker (Leipzig, 1929); F. Dudden, The Life and Times of St. Ambrose (Oxford, 1935); J.-R. Palanque, Saint Ambroise et l'Empire romain (Paris, 1933); MPL, 14–17; NPNF, Ser. 2, X; A Paredi, Saint Ambrose (Notre Dame, Indiana, 1964); C. Morino, Church and State in the Teaching of St. Ambrose (Washington, D. C., 1969); H. M. Riley, Christian Initiation (Washington, D. C.;, 1974).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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