The Feast of St. Ambrose is celebrated annually on December 7 in the northern Italian city of Milan. This national holiday celebrated the feast of the patron saint, St. Ambrose. Do you know that St. Ambrose was one of the most influential figures of the fourth century and in Church history? Yes! He was the bishop of Milan and was well-respected and loved for his fairness and charity. This saint has been adorned with praise for his act of defending the church, his scholarship, and a multitude of skills. Let’s learn more about his fascinating life history.
History of Feast of St. Ambrose
The Feast of St. Ambrose is a public holiday in Milan that celebrates the day when St. Ambrose, an archbishop of Milan during the fourth century, was consecrated bishop. The life of St. Ambrose is one of the most interesting journeys with a huge historical significance.
Aurelius Ambrosius was born in Treverorum, Belgica, Gaul as the second son of the imperial viceroy of Gaul. His father died a few years after he was born and he was raised in Rome by his mother and his elder sister Marcellina, a nun. He was trained as a lawyer in his early days. He was then promoted to the governorship of Aemilia- Liguria and he lived in Milan.
The interesting turn of events that made him a saint started when Ambrose attended the election of a new bishop to simply help keep the peace between the Nicene Church and Arians. The crowd loved him for his humility and generosity, and to avoid a disputed election, the crowd called for his appointment and he was chosen as the new bishop of Milan. Refusing his new position, he went into hiding. But with the approval of Emperor Gratian, he finally accepted the offer.
He was then baptized, ordained, and consecrated as the bishop of Milan in just eight days. To honor this day, the people of Milan celebrate the Feast of St. Ambrose every year on December 7. St. Ambrose, in his lifetime, served the poor and needy, composed many hymns, and studied theology. The Thessalonica massacre of 7,000 people by Emperor Theodosius had incited St. Ambrose to deny him entrance into the church. And for this defense, the saint will always be praised and remembered.
Feast of St. Ambrose timeline
The birth of Aurelius Ambrosius occurs in Treves (Trier), Gaul.
St. Ambrose is duly promoted to the governorship of Aemilia-Liguria.
St. Ambrose is unexpectedly acclaimed as the bishop of Milan by the people of the city.
The death of St. Ambrose occurs two years after the death of the Roman Emperor, Theodosius.
Feast of St. Ambrose FAQs
Why is St. Ambrose a saint?
St. Ambrose is well-known for his service to the unfortunate, oratory skills, leadership of the people, and defense of the Church.
Why is St. Ambrose called ‘Honey-Tongued Doctor’?
The story goes that when he was a baby, honeybees would swarm his mouth, and instead of stinging him, they would leave honey on his lips.
Is the Feast of St. Ambrose a real holiday?
Yes, the Feast of St. Ambrose is a real national holiday in Milan. Schools and most businesses will remain closed owing to the celebrations.
How to Observe Feast of St. Ambrose
Visit the Fair
Join the Feast of St. Ambrose fair, famously known as ‘Oh Bej! Oh, Bej!’ Get immersed in the holy celebrations and preparations for Christmas.
Join the festival
You can join the thousands of visitors who come for the spirit of the festival and can also lay your offerings on the altar in the “Basilica of St. Ambrose”. What better way to celebrate than to do as the people of Milan do?
Yes, you’ve heard that right! St. Ambrose was also the patron of candlemakers. So, on this Feast of St. Ambrose, you can try making candles and maybe do it as a fun group activity too.
5 Holy Facts About St. Ambrose You Need To Know
Emperors hated St. Ambrose
St. Ambrose, in his time, repeatedly found himself at odds with emperors, but his popularity among people increased his political power.
He is an original Latin doctor
St. Ambrose is one of the four original Latin doctors of the Church, along with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great.
The unexpected bishop
St. Ambrose changes from an unbaptized layman to a bishop in just eight days as people chose him as a compromise candidate to avoid a disputed election.
He composed several hymns
St. Ambrose has composed many hymns that are the foundation for hymns still used to this day.
“La Scala’s” opening night
St. Ambrose Day marks the opening of “La Scala”, a world-famous opera house in Italy.
Why Feast of St. Ambrose is Important
This is an inspirational day
St. Ambrose’s humility, generosity, and passionate embrace of God’s plan are surely an inspiration for all of us who have accepted God’s unexpected plan in our lives. However, it is even an inspiration and an example of strength and determination for those of us who are not religious.
St. Ambrose is more than just a saint
St. Ambrose is not only the patron of Milan, he was also the patron of beekeepers, beggars, candlemakers, and learning. Just one of the many more reasons to celebrate the Feast of St. Ambrose!
It brings in the Christmas spirit
Feast of St. Ambrose is the exact celebration we need to kick start the mood for Christmas — the various foods, stalls, and vibrant people celebrating this day bring in the Christmas spirit.
Feast of St. Ambrose dates