The Emperor,he preached,
is in the Church, not above it.He excommunicated Theodosius I for the massacre at Salonica (390) and imposed a heavy public penance on him before reinstating him. Ambrose's eloquent preaching spurred the conversion of St. Augustine. His writings have come down to us largely from his hearers. They reveal wide classical learning, knowledge of patristic literature, and a Roman bent toward the ethical and practical. Of his formal works, On the Duties of the Clergy (De officiis ministrorum) shows the influence of Cicero; On the Christian Faith (De fide) was written at Gratian's request. Ambrose's method of biblical interpretation was allegorical, following Philo and Origen. About 386 he arranged hymns and psalms for the congregation to sing antiphonally. A plainsong called Ambrosian chant is attached to his name. His hymns, written in the iambic dimeter that became standard in Western hymnody, were widely imitated. Only a few are extant. The Ambrosian Rite used in Milan today is probably a development of a liturgy Ambrose introduced. Feast: Dec. 7.
See biography by A. Paredi (1964); C. Morino, Church and State in the Teaching of St. Ambrose (1969).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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