December 7 (old calendar) / December 20 (new)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

December 7 (old calendar) / December 20 (new)

Nativity Fast

St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (397). Ven. Anthony, Abbot of Siya (Novgorod—1558). Ven. Nilus of Stolobénsk (1554). Ven. John the Faster, of the Kiev Caves (Near Caves—12th c.). Martyr Athenodorus of Mesopotamia (ca. 304). Ven. Paul the Obedient. St. Philoftheia of Thrace, Protectress of Romania (12th c.). Ven. Gregory, Founder of Grigoriou Monastery (Mt. Athos—14th c.).

SAINT AMBROSE

7 décembre

Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, was born in the year 340 into the family of the Roman prefect of Gaul (now France). Even in the saint’s childhood there appeared presentiments of his great future. Once, bees covered the face of the sleeping infant. They flew in and out of his mouth, leaving honey on his tongue. Soon they flew away so high that they could no longer be seen. Ambrose’s father said that the child would become something great when he reached manhood.

After the death of the father of the family, Ambrose journeyed to Rome, where the future saint and his brother Satyrius received an excellent education. About the year 370, upon completion of his course of study, Ambrose was appointed to the position of governor (consular prefect) of the districts of Liguria and Aemilia, though he continued to live at Mediolanum (now Milan).

In the year 374 Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Mediolanum, died. This led to complications between the Orthodox and the Arians, since each side wanted to have its own bishop. Ambrose, as the chief city official, went to the church to resolve the dispute.

While he was speaking to the crowd, suddenly a child cried out, “Ambrose for bishop!” The people took up this chant. Ambrose, who at this time was still a catechumen, considered himself unworthy, and tried to refuse. He disparaged himself, and even tried to flee from Mediolanum. The matter went ultimately before the emperor Valentinian the Elder (364-375), whose orders Ambrose dared not disobey. He accepted holy Baptism from an Orthodox priest and, passing through all the ranks of the Church clergy in just seven days, on December 7, 374 he was consecrated Bishop of Mediolanum. He dispersed all his possessions, money and property for the adornment of churches, the upkeep of orphans and the poor, and he devoted himself to a strict ascetic life.

Ambrose combined strict temperance, intense vigilance and work within the fulfilling of his duties as archpastor. Saint Ambrose, defending the unity of the Church, energetically opposed the spread of heresy. Thus, in the year 379 he traveled off to establish an Orthodox bishop at Sirmium, and in 385-386 he refused to hand over the basilica of Mediolanum to the Arians.

The preaching of Saint Ambrose in defense of Orthodoxy was deeply influential. Another noted Father of the Western Church, Saint Augustine (June 15), bore witness to this, having accepted holy Baptism in the year 387 by the grace of the preaching of the bishop of Mediolanum.

Saint Ambrose also actively participated in civil matters. Thus, the emperor Gracian (375-383), having received from him the “Exposition of the Orthodox Faith” (De Fide), removed, by decree of the saint, the altar of Victory from the halls of the Senate at Rome, on which oaths were wont to be taken. Displaying a pastoral boldness, Saint Ambrose placed a severe penance on the emperor Theodosius I (379-395) for the massacre of innocent inhabitants of Thessalonica. For him there was no difference between emperor and commoner. Though he released Theodosius from the penance, the saint would not permit the emperor to commune at the altar, but compelled him to do public penance.

The fame of Bishop Ambrose and his actions attracted to him many followers from other lands. From far away Persia learned men came to him to ask him questions and absorb his wisdom. Fritigelda (Frigitil), queen of the military Germanic tribe of the Markomanni, which often had attacked Mediolanum, asked the saint to instruct her in the Christian Faith. The saint in his letter to her persuasively stated the dogmas of the Church. And having become a believer, the queen converted her own husband to Christianity and persuaded him to conclude a treaty of peace with the Roman Empire.

The saint combined strictness with an uncommon kindliness. Granted a gift of wonderworking, he healed many from sickness. One time at Florence, while staying at the house of Decentus, he resurrected a dead boy.

The repose of Saint Ambrose, who departed to the Lord on the night of Holy Pascha, was accompanied by many miracles. He even appeared in a vision to the children being baptized that night. The saint was buried in the Ambrosian basilica in Mediolanum, beneath the altar, between the Martyrs Protasius and Gervasius (October 14).

A zealous preacher and valiant defender of the Christian Faith, Saint Ambrose received particular renown as a Church writer. In dogmatic compositions he set forth the Orthodox teaching about the Holy Trinity, the Sacraments, and Repentance: “Five Books on the Faith” (De Fide); “Explication of the Symbol of the Faith” (Explanatio Symboli); “On the Incarnation” (De Incarnationis); “Three Books on the Holy Spirit” (De Spiritu Sancto); “On the Sacraments” (De Sacramento); “Two Books on Repentance” (De Paenitentia). In writings about Christian morality, he explained the excellence of Christian moral teaching compared to pagan moral teaching.

A well-known work of Saint Ambrose, “On the Duties of the Clergy” (De Officiis Ministrorum) evidences his deep awareness of pastoral duty. He stresses that those who serve in the Church should have not only the proper knowledge of Church services, but also the proper knowledge of moral precepts.

Saint Ambrose was also a reformer of Church singing. He introduced antiphonal singing (along the Eastern or Syrian form) into the Western Church, which became known as “Ambrosian Chant.” He also composed twelve hymns which were used during his lifetime. The hymn, “Thee, O God, we praise” (Te Deum), attributed to Saint Ambrose, entered into the divine services of the Orthodox Church (Molieben).

Troparion of the saint, tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you; / your poverty enriched you. Hierarch Father Ambrose, entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

Kontakion of the saint, tone 3

You shone forth with divine doctrine eclipsing the deception of Arius, shepherd and initiate of the mysteries, Ambrose. You worked miracles through the power of the Spirit, healing various passions; righteous father, entreat Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Hebrews 10:1-18 (Epistle)

1

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

2

For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.

3

But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

4

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

5

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:”Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.

6

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.

7

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come- In the volume of the book it is written of Me- To do Your will, O God.’ “

8

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),

9

then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.

10

By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

12

But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,

13

from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

14

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

15

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

16

This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,

17

then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

18

Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Luke 21:5-7, 10-11, 20-24 (Gospel)

5

Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

6

These things which you see-the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.

7

So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

10

Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

11

And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

20

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.

21

Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.

22

For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23

But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

24

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Dear readers,

This is one of the five free articles that you can read in their entirety.

To access the unlimited number of full articles, please:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France. She taught English before entering the Cistercian Order. She translated and published articles relevant to her interest in Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She moved to the United States in 2001, converted to Orthodoxy in 2008, and married. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. She continued to publish articles, a Cistercian texts anthology, then finally launched her career in literary translation, while teaching French. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

Orthodoxie.com Newsletter

Don't miss out on important news and updates. Subscribe to our free bi-weekly newsletter.

Divider

Popular Posts

January 17 (old calendar) / Janu... Living with the Church 95584

January 17 (old calendar) / January 30 (new) Fast Venerable and Godbearing Father Anthony the Great (356). Ven. Anthony of Dymsk (Novgorod—ca. 1224...

January 30 Living with the Church 95582

January 30  Fast Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom. Hieromartyr Hippol...

17 janvier (ancien calendrier) /... 95580

17 janvier (ancien calendrier) / 30 janvier (nouveau) Jour de jeûne Saint Antoine le Grand, moine en Égypte (356) ; saint Genou, évêque de Cahors (...

30 janvier 95578

30 janvier Jour de jeûne Synaxe des saints Hiérarques Basile le Grand, Grégoire le Théologien et Jean Chrysostome ; saint Hippolyte de Rome, martyr...

The Russian Church denounces pre... From the Web 95586

On January 29, the French daily La Croix published an article signed Pierre Sautreuil on the current situation of the Russian Church in Ukraine. Pl...

“L’Église russe dénonce de... 95573

Le quotidien La Croix a publié et mis en ligne l’article suivant : “L’Église russe dénonce des pressions sur ses paroisses en Ukraine&#...

Soirée de prière pour l’un... 95564

La prochaine soirée de prière, de toutes les paroisses orthodoxes de la région parisienne, pour l’unité de l’Église orthodoxe aura lieu le me...

Communiqué of St. Sergius Instit... Declarations 95538

On January 28, 2019, at the end of its meeting, the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute (Paris) Board of Directors issued the following comm...

OCA Holy Synod of Bishops issued... Declarations 95532

On Monday, January 28, 2019, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon and the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA...

Jean-François Colosimo’s letter... France 95525

Sunday, January 27, 2019, Feast of the translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom. For more than a quarter of a century, since the fall of 19...

Lettre de démission et de consid... 95523

Dimanche 27 janvier 2019, en la fête de la translation des reliques de saint Jean Chrysostome. Cela fait maintenant plus d’un quart de siècle, depu...

“Monastères, les trésors c... 95519

Un documentaire (42:29) diffusé par la chaîne de télévision Arte, intitulé “Monastères, les trésors cachés de la Géorgie”, est en ligne...