St. Ambrose (Ambrosius )

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

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)

Featured Article:
Saint Ambrose, the Father of Western Hymnody by Vincent A. Lenti (from "The Hymn")


Texts by St. Ambrose (Ambrosius ) (112)sort iconAsInstances
Above the starry spheresSt. Ambrose (Author)3
At the Lamb's high feast we singAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Before the ending of the daySt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)10
Behold the radiant sun departsSt. Ambrose (Author)1
Both heaven and earth do worship theeSt. Ambrose (Author)3
Brightness of the Father's glory, Of his light essential rayAmbrose, 340-397 (Author)3
Come, Holy Ghost, with God the SonAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
Come Holy Sun of heavenly loveAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come, Holy Sun of heavenly loveSt. Ambrose (Author)1
Come, holy Sun of heavenly loveAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Come, holy thoughts, so lily pureAmbrose of Milan (Author)1
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, Bishop of Milan (Author)2
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 of Milan (Author)9
Come, thou Savior of our raceAmbrose, d. 397 (Author)6
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)6
Dawn purples all the East with lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Dear crown of all the virgin choirAmbrose of Milan (Author)1
Dear Maker of the starry skiesAmbrose of Milan (Author)1
Der du bist Drei in EinigkeitAmbrosius (Author)1
Dread Framer of the earth and skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Du Abglanz von des Vaters Ehr'Ambrose of Milan (Author)6
Ere the waning light decayAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)3
Eternal Glory of the sky, Blest hope of all humanityAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
Framer of the earth and skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Grosser Gott, wir loben DichAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Hark! a thrilling voice proclaimingAmbrose (Author)2
His cheering message from the graveAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))1
Iam sol recedit igneusAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
Image of the Father's mightAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Jesu, the virgin's crown, do thouAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
Jesus, be near us when we wakeAmbrosian (Author)1
Lord God, Thy praise we singAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Lord, who didst bless thy chosen bandAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
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)3
Mighty God, we humbly prayAmbrose (Author (stanza 1))1
Now doth the fiery sun declineAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
Now doth the sun ascend the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Now hail we our RedeemerAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)1
Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever oneAmbrose of Milan (Author)19
Now that the daylight dies awayAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
Now that the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (Ascribed to))35
Now that the daystar glimmers brightAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
Now that the sun is beaming brightSt. Ambrose (Author)56
Nun kommt der heiden heiland, der jungfrauenAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
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 Ambrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
O Christ, with each returning mornAmbrose of Milan (Author)34
O come, Redeemer of mankind, appearAmbrose of Milan, circa 340-397 (Author)1
O God, be present and inspireAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
O God! creation's secret ForceAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)8
O God of all the strength and powerAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))1
O God of truth, O Lord of mightAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)11
O God, we praise Thee, and confessSaint Ambrose. (Author)92
O Holy Spirit who art oneSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O Jesus, Lord of heavenly graceSt. Ambrose, c. 340-397 (Author)47
O Jesus, Lord of light and graceSt. Ambrose (Author)2
O light, O Trinity most blestAmbrosian, V. Century (Author)1
O Lord Most High, eternal KingAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
O mighty joy to all our raceAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)1
O sel'ges Licht, DreifaltigkeitAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
O sel'ges Licht, Dreifaltigkeit, Du hochgelobteAmbrose of Milan (Author)8
O selig Licht, DreisaltigkeitAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
O Splendor of God's glory bright, O Thou that bringest light from lightAmbrose of Milan, 340-97 (Author)30
O splendor of God's glory bright, From light eternal bringing lightAmbrose of Milan (Author)34
O splendor of God's glory bright (Chandler)Ambrose of Milan (Author)12
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)3
O Strength and Stay, upholding all creationAmbrose of Milan (Author)22
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)16
O Trinity, O blessed lightAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author (attributed to))3
O Trinity of blessed lightSt. Ambrose, 340-397 (Author)22
O wertes Licht der ChristenheitAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Once more the sun is beaming brightAmbrose of Milan (Author)6
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow (Ken)Ambrose, 340-397 (Author (Dutch))1
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)3
Savior of the heathen, comeAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
Savior of the nations, comeAmbrose, 4th cent. (Author)6
Savior of the nations, come, Virgin's Son make here your homeAmbrose of Milan (Author (attr.))23
Splendor of the Father's gloryAmbrose of Milan (Author)2
Splendor paternae gloriaeSt. Ambrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)2
The dawn is sprinkling in the eastAmbrose of Milan (Author (attributed to))2
The eternal gifts of Christ the KingAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (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 ascends, once moreAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)1
The Lord on high ascendsAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)8
The Lord's eternal giftsAmbrose of Milan (Author)5
The morning kindles all the sky, the heavens resoundAmbrose of Milan (Author)15
The morning purples all the skyAmbrose of Milan (Author)20
Thee, O God, we humbly praiseAmbrose (Author)3
Thee, thee we praise, O God! and ownAmbrose (?) (Author)1
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
True Sun, upon our souls ariseAmbrose of Milan (Author)4
Veni redemptor gentiumAmbrose of Milan (Author)3
While now the daylight fills the skyAmbrose of Milan, 340-397 (Author)7



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