St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose
Short Name: St. Ambrose
Full Name: Ambrose, Saint, Bishop of Milan, 340-397
Birth Year (est.): 340
Death Year: 397

Ambrose (b. Treves, Germany, 340; d. Milan, Italy, 397), one of the great Latin church fathers, is remembered best for his preaching, his struggle against the Arian heresy, and his introduction of metrical and antiphonal singing into the Western church. Ambrose was trained in legal studies and distinguished himself in a civic career, becoming a consul in Northern Italy. When the bishop of Milan, an Arian, died in 374, the people demanded that Ambrose, who was not ordained or even baptized, become the bishop. He was promptly baptized and ordained, and he remained bishop of Milan until his death. Ambrose successfully resisted the Arian heresy and the attempts of the Roman emperors to dominate the church. His most famous convert and disciple was Augustine. Of the many hymns sometimes attributed to Ambrose, only a handful are thought to be authentic.

Bert Polman
Ambrosius (St. Ambrose), second son and third child of Ambrosius, Prefect of the Gauls, was born at Lyons, Aries, or Treves--probably the last--in 340 A.D. On the death of his father in 353 his mother removed to Rome with her three children. Ambrose went through the usual course of education, attaining considerable proficiency in Greek; and then entered the profession which his elder brother Satyrus had chosen, that of the law. In this he so distinguished himself that, after practising in the court of Probus, the Praetorian Prefect of Italy, he was, in 374, appointed Consular of Liguria and Aemilia. This office necessitated his residence in Milan. Not many months after, Auxentius, bishop of Milan, who had joined the Arian party, died; and much was felt to depend upon the person appointed as his successor. The church in which the election was held was so filled with excited people that the Consular found it necessary to take steps fur preserving the peace, and himself exhorted them to peace and order: when a voice suddenly exclaimed, "Ambrose is Bishop," and the cry was taken up on all sides. He was compelled to accept the post, though still only a catechumen; was forthwith baptized, and in a week more consecrated Bishop, Dec. 7, 374. The death of the Emperor Valentinian I., in 375, brought him into collision with Justina, Valentinian's second wife, an adherent of the Arian party: Ambrose was supported by Gratian, the elder son of Valentinian, and by Theodosius, whom Gratian in 379 associated with himself in the empire. Gratian was assassinated in 383 by a partisau of Maximus, and Ambrose was sent to treat with the usurper, a piece of diplomacy in which he was fairly successful. He found himself, however, left to carry on the contest with the Arians and the Empress almost alone. He and the faithful gallantly defended the churches which the heretics attempted to seize. Justina was foiled: and the advance of Maximus on Milan led to her flight, and eventually to her death in 388. It was in this year, or more probably the year before (387), that Ambrose received into the Church by baptism his great scholar Augustine, once a Manichaean heretic. Theodosius was now virtually head of the Roman empire, his colleague Valentinian II., Justina's son, being a youth of only 17. In the early part of 390 the news of a riot at Thessalonica, brought to him at Milan, caused him to give a hasty order for a general massacre at that city, and his command was but too faithfully obeyed. On his presenting himself a few days after at the door of the principal church in Milan, he was met by Ambrose, who refused him entrance till he should have done penance for his crime. It was not till Christmas, eight months after, that the Emperor declared his penitence, and was received into communion again by the Bishop. Valentinian was murdered by Arbogastes, a Frank general, in 392; and the murderer and his puppet emperor Eugenius were defeated by Theodosius in 394. But the fatigues of the campaign told on the Emperor, and he died the following year. Ambrose preached his funeral sermon, as he had done that of Valentinian.   The loss of these two friends and supporters was a severe blow to Ambrose; two unquiet years passed, and then, worn with labours and anxieties, he himself rested from his labours on Easter Eve, 397. It was the 4th of April, and on that day the great Bishop of Milan is remembered by the Western Church, but Rome commemorates his consecration only, Dec. 7th. Great he was indeed, as a scholar, an organiser, a statesman; still greater as a theologian, the earnest and brilliant defender of the Catholic faith against the Arians of the West, just as Athanasius (whose name, one cannot but remark, is the same as his in meaning) was its champion against those of the East. We are now mainly concerned with him as musician and poet, "the father of Church song" as he is called by Grimm. He introduced from the East the practice of antiphonal chanting, and began the task, which St. Gregory completed, of systematizing the music of the Church. As a writer of sacred poetry he is remarkable for depth and severity. He does not warm with his subject, like Adam of St. Victor, or St. Bernard. "We feel," says Abp. Trench, "as though there were a certain coldness in his hymns, an aloofness of the author from his subject. "A large number of hymns has been attributed to his pen; Daniel gives no fewer than 92 called Ambrosian. Of these the great majority (including one on himself) cannot possibly be his; there is more or less doubt about the rest. The authorities on the subject are the Benedictine ed. of his works, the Psalterium, or Hymnary, of Cardinal Thomasius, and the Thesaurus Hymnologicus of Daniel. The Benedictine editors give 12 hymns as assignable to him, as follows:—

    1.  Aeterna Christi munera. 2.  Aeterne rerum Conditor. 3.  Consors Paterni luminii. 4.  Deus Creator omnium. 5.  Fit porta Christi pervia, 6.  Illuminans Altissimus. 7.  Jam surgit hora tertia. 8.  0 Lux Beata Trinitas. 9.  Orabo mente Dominum. 10.  Somno refectis artubus. 11.  Splendor Paternae gloriae. 12.  Veni Redemptor gentium.

Histories of these hymns, together with details of translations into English, are given in this work, and may be found under their respective first lines. The Bollandists and Daniel are inclined to attribute to St. Ambrose a hymn, Grates tibi Jesu novas, on the finding of the relics of SS. Gervasius and Protasius. These, we know, were discovered by him in 386, and it is by no means unlikely that the bishop should have commemorated in verse an event which he announces by letter to his sister Marcellina with so much satisfaction, not to say exultation.A beautiful tradition makes the Te Deum laudamus to have been composed under inspiration, and recited alternately, by SS. Ambrose and Augustine immediately after the baptism of the latter in 387. But the story rests upon a passage which there is every reason to consider spurious, in the Chronicon of Dacius, Bishop of Milan in 550. There is no hint of such an occurrence in the Confessions of St. Augustine, nor in Paulinue's life of St. Ambrose, nor in any authentic writing of St. Ambrose himself. The hymn is essentially a compilation, and there is much reason to believe, with Merati, that it originated in the 5th century, in the monastery of St. Honoratus at Lerins. [Te Deum.]

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Also known as:
Ambrotio, Saint, Bishop of Milan
Ambroise, Saint, Bishop of Milan
Ambrosio de Milán
Ambrosius Mediolanensis
Ambrosius Saint, Bp. of Milan
Ambrosius von Mailand
Aurelio Ambrogio, Saint, Bishop of Milan
Aurelius Ambrosius, Saint, Bishop of Milan

Wikipedia Biography

Aurelius Ambrosius (Italian: Sant'Ambrogio), better known in English as Saint Ambrose (/ˈæmbroʊz/; c. 340 – 4 April 397), was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was consular prefect of Liguria and Emilia, headquartered in Milan, before being made bishop of Milan by popular acclamation in 374. Ambrose was a staunch opponent of Arianism, and has been accused of fostering persecutions of Arians, Jews, and pagans.
Featured Article:
Saint Ambrose, the Father of Western Hymnody by Vincent A. Lenti (from "The Hymn")

Texts by St. Ambrose (143)sort descendingAsInstances
Above the starry spheresSt. Ambrose (Author)3
Almighty God we praise and ownSt. Ambrose (Author)1
At the Lamb's high feast we singAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Before the ending of the day Creator of the world, we pray (Neale)St. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)10
Behold the radiant sun departsSt. Ambrose (Author)1
Both heaven and earth do worship theeSt. Ambrose (Author)4
Brightness of the Father's glory, Of his light essential rayAmbrose, 340-397 (Author)3
Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever oneSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)16
Come, Holy Ghost, with God the SonAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
Come, Holy Sun of heavenly loveAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Come, holy thoughts, so lily pureAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come, Redeemer of mankindAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come, Redeemer of nationsAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come, thou Redeemer of the earth And manifest Thy virgin birthSt. Ambrose (Author)4
Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth, Come, testify Thy Virgin birthSt. Ambrose (Author)1
Come, thou Redeemer of the earth, In Thy admired Virgin birthAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come,Thou Savior of our race, Choicest Gift of heavenly graceAmbrose, d. 397 (Author)15
Creator eternal of earth and of heavenAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Creator of all, through whose all seeing mightSt. Ambrose (Author)1
Creator of the earth and skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)7
Dawn purples all the East with lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Dear crown of all the virgin choirAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Dear Maker of the starry skiesAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Der du bist Drei in EinigkeitAmbrosius (Author)2
Dread Framer of the earth and skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Du Abglanz von des Vaters Ehr'Ambrose of Milan (Author)7
Ere the waning light decayAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)5
Eternal Glory of the sky, Blest hope of all humanityAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
Eterno Padre celestialAmbrioso de Milán (Author (estr. #2-3))2
Förlossningen är vunnen Guds Son från evighetAmbrosius, d. 397 (Author)2
Framer of the earth and skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Grosser Gott, wir loben DichAbrosius (Author)5
Hark! a thrilling voice proclaimingAmbrose (Author)2
Heaven with rosy morn is glowingAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))1
Herr Gott, die loben wir, dich Vater in EwigkeitSt. Ambrose (Author)2
His cheering message from the graveSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Holy God, thy name we blessAmbrose of Milan (Author)1
Iam sol recedit igneusAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Image of the Father's mightAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Infinite God, to thee we raiseAmbrosius, 340-97 (Author (attributed to))1
Jam levas sin la taga lum' (Iam lucis orto sidere)Ambrosius (P)2
Jesu, the virgin's crown, do thouAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
Jesus, be near us when we wakeAmbrosian (Author)2
Kom du Folke-Frelser sandSt. Ambrose (Author)3
Komm, Gott Schoepfer, heiliger GeistAmbrosii (Author)1
Komm, Heiden Heiland, LoesegeldAmbrosius (Author)3
Lifespring divine and bond of all (Rerum Deius tenax bigor)S. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))2
Lord God, thy praise we sing To thee our thanks we bringAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)3
Lord, who didst bless thy chosen bandAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Maker of all, eternal kingAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Maker of all things, glorious GodAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Maker of all things, God most highAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Mighty God, we humbly prayAmbrose (Author (stanza 1))2
Morning spreads her crimson raysAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
Now at the Lamb’s imperial feastAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
Now dawning glows the day of daysAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))1
Now doth the fiery sun declineAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Now doth the sun ascend the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Now hail we our RedeemerAmbrose, (340-397) (Author)4
Now Holy Spirit, ever OneAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Now that the daylight dies awayAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
Now that the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (Ascribed to))29
Now that the sun is beaming brightSt. Ambrose (Author)52
Nun komm der heiden heilandAmbrosii (Author)2
Nun kommt der heiden heiland, der jungfrauenAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
O blessed Light, O Trinity (Vitz)Ambrose of Milan (Author)2
O blessed Light, O Trinity, O everlasting UnitySt. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))2
O Christ, our hope, our heart's desireAmbrose (?) (Author)2
O Christ, who art the Light and Day, Thou drivest night and gloom away Ambrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
O Christ, with each returning mornAmbrose of Milan (Author)27
O come, Redeemer of mankind, appearAmbrose of Milan, circa 340-397 (Author)2
O, du trefoldig EnighedSt. Ambrose (Author)1
O God, be present and inspireAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
O God! creation's secret ForceAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)9
O God of all the strength and powerAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
O God of truth, O Lord of mightAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)11
O God, we praise Thee, and confessAmbrose of Milan (Author)73
O hellige treenighedAmbrosius (Author (attributed to))1
O Holy Spirit, Lord of lifeS. Ambrose, 4th cent. (Author)2
O Holy Spirit who art oneSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O Jesus, Lord of heavenly graceSt. Ambrose, c. 340-397 (Author)50
O Jesus, Lord of light and graceAmbrose of Milan (340-397) (Author)1
O light, O Trinity most blestSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O Lord Most High, eternal KingSt. Ambrose (Author)3
O lux beata trinitasAmbrosius (Author)1
O mighty joy to all our raceSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O sel'ges Licht, DreifaltigkeitSt. Ambrose (Author)11
O Splendor of God's glory bright, O Thou that bringest light from lightAmbrose of Milan, 340-97 (Author)36
O splendor of God's glory bright, From light eternal bringing lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)40
O splendor of God's glory bright (Chandler)Ambrose of Milan (Author)8
O splendor of God's glory bright, You daily bring forth light from lightSt. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author)2
O splendor of the Father's faceAmbrose of Milan, 340-307 AD (Author)2
O Splendor of the Father's lightSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)3
O Stjerners Skaber i himmelske HusSt. Ambrose (Author)1
O store Gud, vi love dig, Vi sige tak evindeligAmbrosius (Author (attributed to))2
O Strength and Stay, upholding all creationAmbrose of Milan (Author)25
O thou everlasting Maker Ambrose of Milan (Author)2
O thou Redeemer of our raceAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
O thou true life of all that liveAmbrose of Milan (Author)17
O Trinity, O blessed lightAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))4
O Trinity of blessed lightSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)23
O wertes Licht der ChristenheitAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Oh, Luz que brota de su luzAmbrosio de Milán, 340-397 (Author)3
Once more the sun is beaming brightAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow (Ken)Ambrose, 340-397 (Author (Dutch))2
Pure light of light eternal dayAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Redeemer of the nations, comeSt. Ambrose (Author)3
Redeemer of the nations, come, Redeem yourself in virgin birthAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))2
Redeemer of the nations, make knownAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Rejoice, our nature Christ assumesAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Savior of the heathen, comeAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Savior of the nations, come, Show yourself, the virgin's son (Seerveld)Ambrose, 4th cent. (Author)6
Savior of the nations, come, Show yourself the virgin's son (Janzow)St. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author (attributed to))2
Savior of the nations, come, Virgin's Son make here your homeAmbrose of Milan (Author (attr.))34
Saviour of the nations, come, Known as Virgin Mary's sonSt. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author)2
Sig fröjde nu hvar kristen manAmbrosius, d. 397 (Author)2
Splendor of the Father's gloryAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Splendor paternae gloriaeSt. Ambrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemurAmbrosius (Author)1
The dawn is sprinkling in the eastAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))3
The eternal gifts of Christ the King The martyr's glorious deeds we singAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)5
The eternal gifts of Christ the King, The Apostle's glory let us singSt. Ambrose (Author)21
The fiery sun goes downAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
The fiery sun now rolls awayAmbrose of Milan (Author)7
The Lord on high ascendsAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)9
The Lord's eternal giftsAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
The morning kindles all the sky, the heavens resound with anthems highAmbrose of Milan (Author)16
The morning purples all the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)20
The star of morn has risenAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)1
Thee, O God, we humbly praiseAmbrose (Author)3
Thee, thee we praise, O God! and ownAmbrose (?) (Author)2
Thou Brightness of the Father's rayAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Thou Source divine of life and lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Thou Splendor of the Father's lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Thou who art Three in UnityAmbrose (Author)4
True Sun, upon our souls ariseAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Ven, Redentor de gentesAmbrosio de Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
Veni creator spiritusAmbrosii (Author)1
Veni redemptor gentiumAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Verldens Frälsare kom härAmbrosius, d. 397 (Author)3
Vi patran gloron file rebrilasAmbrosius el Milano (Author)1
We praise, we worship thee, O God, Thy sovereign power we sound abroadAurelius Ambrosius, 340-97 (Author (attributed to))2
While now the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)7

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