St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose
www.hymntime.com/tch/bio/a/m/b/ambrose_m.htm
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
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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 descendingAsAuthority LanguagesInstances
Above the starry spheresAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))English3
Almighty God we praise and ownSt. Ambrose (Author)1
At the Lamb's high feast we singAmbrosian (Author)English4
Before the ending of the day Creator of the world, we pray (Neale)St. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))English10
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 raySt. Ambrose (Author)3
Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever oneAmbrose of Milan (Author)English15
Come, Holy Ghost, with God the SonSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)English8
Come, Holy Sun of heavenly loveSt. Ambrose (Author)5
Come, holy thoughts, so lily pureSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Come, Redeemer of mankindSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Come, Redeemer of nationsSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Come, thou Redeemer of the earth And manifest Thy virgin birthSt. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author)7
Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth, Come, testify Thy Virgin birthSt. Ambrose (Author)English1
Come, thou Redeemer of the earth, In Thy admired Virgin birthSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Come,Thou Savior of our race, Choicest Gift of heavenly graceAmbrose, d. 397 (Author)English16
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 skySt. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author)English10
Dawn purples all the East with lightSt. Ambrose (Author)English4
Dear crown of all the virgin choirSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Dear Maker of the starry skiesSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Der du bist Drei in EinigkeitSt. Ambrose (Author)German2
Dread Framer of the earth and skySt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Du Abglanz von des Vaters Ehr'Ambrose of Milan (Author)German7
Ere the waning light decayAmbrose of Milan (430-397) (Author)5
Eternal Glory of the sky, Blest hope of all humanityAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))English2
Eterno Padre celestialAmbrioso de Milán (Author (estr. #2-3))Spanish2
Förlossningen är vunnen Guds Son från evighetAmbrosius, d. 397 (Author)Swedish2
Framer of the earth and skyAmbrose (Author)English2
Grosser Gott, wir loben DichAmbrosius (Author)German6
Hark! a thrilling voice proclaimingSt. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (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)German2
His cheering message from the graveAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))2
Holy God, thy name we blessAmbrose of Milan (Author)1
Iam sol recedit igneusAmbrose of Milan (Author)Latin5
Image of the Father's mightAmbrose (Author)2
Infinite God, to thee we raiseAmbrosius, 340-97 (Author (attributed to))English1
Jam levas sin la taga lum' (Iam lucis orto sidere)Ambrosius (Possibly by)2
Jesu, the virgin's crown, do thouAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))English4
Jesus, be near us when we wakeAmbrosian (Author)English2
Kom du Folke-Frelser sandSt. Ambrose (Author)Norwegian3
Komm, Gott Schoepfer, heiliger GeistAmbrosii (Author)German1
Komm, Heiden Heiland, LoesegeldAmbrosius, d. 397 (Author)German3
Lifespring divine and bond of all (Rerum Deius tenax bigor)S. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))English, Latin2
Lord God, thy praise we sing To thee our thanks we bringAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English3
Lord, who didst bless thy chosen bandSt. Ambrose (Author)English3
Maker of all, eternal kingSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Maker of all things, glorious GodSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Maker of all things, God most highSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Mighty God, we humbly praySt. Ambrose (Author (st. 1))English2
Morning spreads her crimson raysAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English2
Now at the Lamb’s imperial feastAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English2
Now dawning glows the day of daysAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))1
Now doth the fiery sun declineAmbrose of Milan (Author)English5
Now doth the sun ascend the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)English3
Now hail we our RedeemerAurelius Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)English4
Now Holy Spirit, ever OneAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English5
Now that the daylight dies awaySt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Now that the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)English28
Now that the sun is beaming brightAmbrose of Milan (Author)English51
Nun komm der heiden heilandAmbrosii (Author)German2
Nun kommt der heiden heiland, der jungfrauenAmbrose of Milan (Author)German6
O blessed Light, O Trinity, O everlasting UnityAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))English2
O blessed Light, O Trinity (Vitz)St. Ambrose (Author)2
O Christ, our hope, our heart's desireAmbrose (Author (attributed to))English2
O Christ, who art the Light and Day, Thou drivest night and gloom away Ambrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))English1
O Christ, with each returning mornAmbrose of Milan (Author)English26
O come, Redeemer of mankind, appearSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
O, du trefoldig EnighedSt. Ambrose (Author)Norwegian1
O God, be present and inspireAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
O God! creation's secret ForceAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))English11
O God of all the strength and powerAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))English3
O God of truth, O Lord of mightSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)English13
O God, we praise Thee, and confessAmbrose of Milan (Author)English72
O hellige treenighedAmbrosius (Author (attributed to))Norwegian1
O Holy Spirit, Lord of lifeS. Ambrose, 4th cent. (Author)English2
O Holy Spirit who art oneSt. Ambrose (Author)English2
O Jesus, Lord of heavenly graceAmbrose of Milan (Author)English49
O Jesus, Lord of light and graceAmbrose of Milan (340-397) (Author)2
O light, O Trinity most blestAmbrosian, V. Century (Author)English2
O Lord Most High, eternal KingAmbrose, of Milan (Author)English3
O lux beata trinitasAmbrosius (Author)1
O mighty joy to all our raceSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O sel'ges Licht, DreifaltigkeitAmbrose of Milan (Author)German11
O splendor of God's glory bright (Chandler)Ambrose of Milan (Author)8
O splendor of God's glory bright, From light eternal bringing lightAmbrose of Milan, 4th c. (Author)English41
O Splendor of God's glory bright, O Thou that bringest light from lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)English39
O splendor of God's glory bright, You daily bring forth light from lightSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O splendor of the Father's faceSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O Splendor of the Father's lightSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)English3
O Stjerners Skaber i himmelske HusSt. Ambrose (Author)Norwegian1
O store Gud, vi love dig, Vi sige tak evindeligAmbrosius (Author (attributed to))Norwegian2
O Strength and Stay, upholding all creationAmbrose (?), d. 397 (Author)English27
O thou everlasting Maker Ambrose of Milan (Author)English2
O thou Redeemer of our raceAmbrose of Milan (Author)English3
O thou true life of all that liveAmbrose of Milan (Author)English17
O Trinity, O blessed lightSt. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))English4
O Trinity of blessed lightSt. Ambrose (Author)English26
O wertes Licht der ChristenheitAmbrose of Milan (Author)German2
Oh, Luz que brota de su luzAmbrosio de Milán, 340-397 (Author)Spanish3
Once more the sun is beaming brightSt. Ambrose (Author)6
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow (Ken)Ambrose, 340-397 (Author (Dutch))Chinese, English, Latin, Welsh2
Pure light of light eternal daySt. Ambrose (Author)English3
Redeemer of the nations, comeSt. Ambrose (Author)English3
Redeemer of the nations, come, Redeem yourself in virgin birthAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))English2
Redeemer of the nations, make knownAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Rejoice, our nature Christ assumesAmbrose of Milan (Author)English5
Savior of the heathen, comeAmbrose of Milan (Author)English, German3
Savior of the nations, come, Show yourself, the virgin's son (Seerveld)Ambrose, 4th c. (Author)English6
Savior of the nations, come, Virgin's Son make here your homeAmbrose (Author (ascr.))English35
Savior of the nations, come, Show yourself the virgin's son (Janzow)St. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))English2
Saviour of the nations, come, Known as Virgin Mary's sonSt. Ambrose, 340-97 (Author)English2
Sig fröjde nu hvar kristen manSt. Ambrose (Author)Swedish2
Splendor of the Father's glorySt. Ambrose (Author)English2
Splendor paternae gloriaeSt. Ambrose (Author)Latin2
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemurAmbrosius (Author)Latin1
The dawn is sprinkling in the eastAmbrosius (Author)English3
The eternal gifts of Christ the King, The Apostle's glory let us singAmbrose of Milan (Author)English21
The eternal gifts of Christ the King The martyr's glorious deeds we singSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)English5
The fiery sun goes downSt. Ambrose (Author)2
The fiery sun now rolls awayAmbrose of Milan (Author)English7
The Lord on high ascendsAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English9
The Lord's eternal giftsAmbrose of Milan (Author)English5
The morning kindles all the sky, the heavens resound with anthems highAmbrosian (Author)15
The morning purples all the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)English20
The star of morn has risenAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)English1
Thee, O God, we humbly praiseAmbrose (Author)English3
Thee, thee we praise, O God! and ownSt. Ambrose (Author (attributed to))English2
Thou Brightness of the Father's raySt. Ambrose (Author)2
Thou Source divine of life and lightSt. Ambrose (Author)4
Thou Splendor of the Father's lightSt. Ambrose (Author)2
Thou who art Three in UnityAmbrose (Author)English4
True Sun, upon our souls ariseSt. Ambrose (Author)4
Ven, Redentor de gentesAmbrosio de Milan, 340-397 (Author)Spanish2
Veni creator spiritusAmbrosii (Author)Latin1
Veni redemptor gentiumSt. Ambrose (Author)Latin3
Verldens Frälsare kom härSt. Ambrose (Author)Swedish3
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))English2
While now the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan (340-397) (Author)English7

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