Ambrose in Roman Biography

Ambrose, Saint, sent am'broz, [Lat. Sanc'tus Ambro'sius ; Fr. Saint-Ambroise, saN'tflN'bRwaz',] one of the Latin Fathers, was born in Gaul, at Treves, it is supposed, about 340 A.D. His father, a Roman noble, was then praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was Governor of Liguria (a province of which Milan was the capital) in 374, when Auxentius, the Arian archbishop of Milan, died. In the attempt to elect a successor, the contest between the Catholics and the Arians was very fierce, and the presence of the governor was necessary to appease the tumult. He addressed them with such eloquence and power that the assembled people declared, with one voice, "Ambrose shall be bishop." He accepted the office with great reluctance, but afterwards fulfilled its duties with unequalled ability, zeal, and disinterestedness, He sided with the Catholics, and used all his efforts and influence for the suppression of Arianism. In 390 the emperor Theodosius, incensed at the insolent disobedience of some of the people of Thessalonica, ordered an indiscriminate massacre of all the inhabitants. Ambrose was greatly shocked at this crime ; and when, shortly after, the emperor was about to enter the church at Milan, the archbishop sternly forbade him. Theodosius submitted, and, besides undergoing various other humiliations, was at last obliged to perform public penance. Ambrose died in 397. He left, besides other works, a treatise " De Officiis," on the duties of Christian ministers, which was highly esteemed, and expositions of Scripture. He was the author of a method of singing known as the "Ambrosian Chant." "His Letters," says Villemain, "evince a man who, amidst the turbulence and instability of the empire, never had a foible nor stain on his character, whose magnanimity was adequate to all trials, and who in a more auspicious period would have placed himself by his writings in the rank of the first orators and the most noble geniuses." See Paulwus, "Vita Ambrosii ;" Godefroi Hermant, "Vie de Saint-Ambroise," 1678; J. P. Silbert, " Leben des heiligen Am brosius," 1841 ; Bakonius, "Annales;" "Saint-Ambroise; sa Vie el extraits de ses Merits," Lille, 1852 ; " Nouvelie Biographie Genera.e ;" "Encyclopaedia Britannica ;" Villemain, "Saint-Ambroise," Paris, 8vo, 1852.

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