Ambrose, Saint

Ambrose, Saint

biographical name


St. Ambrose, detail from a stained-glass window; in St. Michael's Church, Kirby-le-Soken, Essex, …—E & E Image Library/Heritage-Images

(born 339, Augusta Treverorum, Belgica, Gaul—died 397, Milan; feast day December 7) Bishop of Milan. Raised in Rome, he became a Roman provincial governor. As a compromise candidate, he was unexpectedly elevated from unbaptized layman to bishop of Milan in 374. He established the medieval concept of the Christian emperor as subject to episcopal advice and censure when he forced the emperor Theodosius to seek forgiveness from the bishop, and he opposed tolerance for adherents of Arianism. He wrote theological treatises influenced by Greek philosophy, including On the Holy Spirit and On the Duties of Ministers, as well as a series of hymns. His brilliant sermons and personal example converted St. Augustine.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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