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The Liturgical Calendar: The Church Remembers

Today the church remembers Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 397.

Ambrose was born of a prominent and powerful Roman family. At the time he was acclaimed Bishop of Milan he was an important Roman official, but had not yet been baptized! He accepted the Christian faith and the office of bishop in virtually the same breath. He had been studying to become a Christian, but on the day he was elected bishop he had entered the cathedral only as a ruler of state interested in quelling the violent conflict between the Arians and the orthodox Christians.

During the next quarter century he emerged as a great spokesman and organizer of the church. He became perhaps the most renowned preacher of his day and is credited with converting Augustine of Hippo (see August 28). He was a highly competent scholar and theologian. He was a hymn writer of some distinction (see The Hymnal 1982: numbers 5, 19, and 233). He contributed so much to the design of Christian worship in Milan that the rite used there still bears his name, the Ambrosian Rite. He was diligent against heresy, but chastised fellow bishops who allowed heretics to be executed. He was fearless in contending with officials of the Roman state, and once even excommunicated the emperor when the latter had perpetrated a vengeful massacre.

Grant to all bishops and pastors the same excellency in preaching and fidelity in ministering your Word as given to your servant Ambrose. Amen.

Read the Wikipedia article here.

O God, you gave your servant Ambrose grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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