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Saint Ambrose

Saint Ambrose

Anthony van Dyck, “Saint Ambrose barring Theodosius from Milan Cathedral”, c. 1619–20

Saint Ambrose (337-397) was born into a Christian family in Trier. His father is believed to have been a praetorian prefect of Gaul. Saint Ambrose was educated in Rome, entered public life upon finishing his studies and was eventually appointed governor of Milan. When the local bishop, an Arian, died, he went to the location where the election of the next bishop was to take place to prevent a clash between Arians and orthodox believers. As he addressed the people, the populace started chanting, “Ambrose, bishop!” Upon hearing the chant, he fled the scene. After a few days, following a request from emperor Theodosius, he accepted the prelacy.

Saint Ambrose bravely fought against the Arian heresy. He courageously excommunicated Theodosius, leading the emperor to repent of his sin (the massacre of 7000 people in retaliation for the murder of a Roman official) and do penance. The bishop is also known for having converted Saint Augustine of Hippo. Ambrose’s remains may still be viewed in the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, in Milan.



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