c. 390 CE
Gaul [now Trier, Germany]—died 397, Milan [Italy]; feast day December 7), bishop of Milan, biblical critic, and initiator of ideas that provided a model for medieval conceptions of church–state relations. His literary works have been acclaimed as masterpieces of Latin eloquence, and his musical accomplishments are remembered in his hymns. Ambrose is also remembered as the teacher who converted and baptized St. Augustine of Hippo, the great Christian theologian, and as a model bishop who viewed the church as rising above the ruins of the Roman Empire.
In Milan, Ambrose “bewitched” the populace by introducing new Eastern melodies and by composing beautiful hymns, notably “Aeterne rerum Conditor” (“Framer of the earth and sky”) and “Deus Creator omnium” (“Maker of all things, God most high”). He spared no pains in instructing candidates for baptism. He denounced social abuses (notably in the sermons De Nabuthe [“On Naboth”]) and frequently secured pardon for condemned men.
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2020 | Present