7 December – Saint Ambrose of Milan

Modern Hagiography

Roman Martyrology (see also 4 April)

Sanctorale Catholicum

Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler.

Lives of Saints by Francis Weninger.

Lives of the Saints by Sabine Baring-Gould.

The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger.

Character Calendar

Pictorial Lives of the Saints

La vie des saints

Our Birthday Bouquet Culled from the Shrines of the Saints and the Gardens of the Poets by Eleanor C. Donnelly.

Pictorial Half Hours with the Saints by Auguste François Lecanu.

Miniature Lives Of The Saints For Every Day In The Year by Henry Sebastian Bowden.

Short Instructive Sketches from the Lives of the Saints

Stories of the Saints for Children: The Black Letter Saints by Mrs. Molesworth.

Stories of the Saints Fourth Series Saints of the Early Church by Mary Seymour.

Memorials of the Blessed: A Series of Short Lives of the Saints by Charles B. Fairbanks.

Il libro d’oro

The lives of saints, with other feasts of the year, according to the Roman calendar by Peter Ribadeneira.

Contemporary & Medieval Hagiography

BHL, Supplement

There is a Life of Ambrose by Paulinus Nola and a 1928 translation, but it is only available in a recent print publication. (it should be in the public domain, but it is not yet available).  Here it is in Latin in a 15th-century manuscript.  You can listen to a reading of a section of the life here, with mostly relevant images.

The Golden Legend (and illustrations)

Breviarium Romanum Latin & English

Writings by Ambrose

Documenta Catholica Omnia

Ambrose: Selected Works and Letters from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library in pdf and html.  

Saint Ambrose: Theological and Dogmatic Works from the Fathers of the Church.

The Letters of Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

Letter to Emperor Theodosius

Augustine on Theodosius’s subsequent penance

Letter on the Finding of the Relics of Saints Gervasius and Protasius

You can also read about Ambrose and their relics in Saint Augustine’s Confessions (scroll down to 9.7).

On Holy Virginity, selection on Mary

Excerpt from an epistle

The Church of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan

The Church of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, originally constructed by Saint Ambrose and his eventual resting place, contains several images of Saint Ambrose.  

The earliest image is in a side chapel dedicated to Saint Vincent, called the Chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d’oro.  Ambrose died in 397, and the mosaics in this chapel date to fifth century.  It is not a contemporary portrait, but in the grand scheme of the Middle Ages, it seems very nearly.  

The teacher or an older student may read more about the Chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d’oro, either now or on the feast day of Saint Vincent, here and here (you may read this free online by setting up an account).

From the ninth century, the Golden Altar in Sant’Ambrogio presents a cycle of Christ’s life in gold on the front and a cycle of Saint Ambrose’s life in silver on the back.  The most accessible information comes from the entry about it on the Italian Wikipedia website.  Within Chrome, right click on any blank area in the page, and select “Translate to English.” The teacher or older students interested in art history may read more here.

The Ottonian ciborium over the altar preserves on one of its four sides a relief of Saint Ambrose with Saints Protasius and Gervasius, but I am still looking for a good image of this side.  Likewise, the later medieval mosaic in the apse shows scenes from the life of Saint Ambrose, but good photographs are a challenge to find.

Art & Architecture

Altarpiece of Saint Ambrose

Works of Art on Google Art & Culture

Peter Paul Rubens, Saint Ambrose Barring Theodosius from Milan Cathedral

Antony Van Dyck, Saint Ambrose Barring Theodosius from Milan Cathedral

18C Libro del Compendio della Vita di tutti Santi


Guide to Christian Iconography: Images, Symbols, and Texts

Post-Biblical Saints Art Index

Sacred and Legendary Art volume I by Mrs. Jameson.

A Handbook of Christian Symbols and Stories of the Saints as Illustrated in Art by Clara Erskine Clement.

A Garner of Saints: Being a Collection of the Legends and Emblems Usually Represented in Art by Allen Hinds.

Lives and Legends of the Great Hermits and Fathers of the Church, with Other Contemporary Saints by Mrs. Arthur Bell.

The Saints in Art with Their Attributes and Symbols, Alphabetically Arranged by Margaret E. Tabor.

Saints and their Symbols: A Companion in the Churches and Picture Galleries of Europe by E. A. Greene.

Sacred Symbols in Art by Elizabeth Edwards Goldsmith.

The Saints in Art by Joseph Maria von Radowitz.

Emblems of Saints by Which They Are Distinguished in Works of Art by F. C. Husenbeth.

Medieval Religion Listserve – 2016 Dillon1, 2016 Dillon2.


To Saint Ambrose is attributed the hymn Veni redemptor genium (the words in Latin, scroll down for a list of all the versions in English; the German hymn; chantcontemporary beat – from Advent at Ephesus).

Other hymns written by Saint Ambrose

Medieval Music Database

Customs & Devotions

Manna for the Soul: Meditations for Every Day of the Year by Paulo Segneri.

Feast Day Cookbook

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