Mattei Paul

Christ as main foundation of theology and spiritual experience of Ambrose of Milan

Mattei Paul (2018) "Christ as main foundation of theology and spiritual experience of Ambrose of Milan ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2018, vol. 80, pp. 11-25 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201880.11-25


Following a number of other scholars, the author of this article attempts to demonstrate main aspects of not only thoughts (theology and spiritual refl ection), but also of actions of Ambrose in order to present his image in a more contextualised framework. The study consists of three sections. The “prologue”, drawing on two treatises or a fragment of treatises (De fuga saeculi; De Iacob I), outlines Ambrose’s doctrine of grace. Despite seemingly contradicting expressions, these texts show that the idea of the divine donation in Christ is the centre of the religious experience of the bishop from Milan. The second section scrutinises dogmatic grounds of Ambrosian Christocentrism, i.e. the dosctrine of the Trinity (triadology) and of the Incarnation (Christology), which are developed by Ambrose with both Greek and Latin traditions as the foundation. Ambrose emphasises the doctrine of Christ as both the true God and the true man. As the third section shows, Ambrose’s spiritual experince is based on these dogmatic truths: via Christ-man to Christ-God; Christ as Way and Limit, — all these formulae imply, so to say, a pre-Augustinian fl avour. The result of the study can be boiled down to one phrase: Christus omnia. The unity of the contemplator’s thought and the pastor’s action is revealed in this love of Christ. Besides, the pastor is aff ecting or trying to aff ect the representative of the authorities, because Ambrose desired to lead the Empire and its rulers to Father via Christ in accordance with the Orthodox faith. Numerous borrowings from theology of his predecessors, no less than their creative rethinking, were ultimately aimed at the implementation of this very concept. Ambrose’s intuitions, pervading all his legacy, also open new perspectives; the bishop from Milan was in a certain sense an intellectual intermediary.


Ambrose of Milan, triadology, Christology, soteriology, exegesis, spirituality, Augustine, Latin Patristics


  1. Grillmeier A. (1973) Le Christ dans la tradition chrétienne. De l’âge apostolique à Chalcédoine (451). Paris.
  2. Madec G. (1998) “La centralité du Christ dans la spiritualité d’Ambroise”. In: L. F. Pizzolato, M. Rizzi (eds.) “Nec timeo mori”. Atti del Congresso internazionale di studi Ambrosiani nel XVI centenario della morte di sant’Ambrogio (Milano 4–11 aprile 1997), Milano, pp. 207–220.
  3. Madec G. (1989) La patrie et la voix. Le Christ dans la vie et la pensée de saint Augustin. Paris.
  4. Madec G. (1974) “L’homme intérieur selon saint Ambroise”. In: Ambroise de Milan. XVIe Centenaire de son élection épiscopale. Dix études rassemblées par Y.-M. Duval. Paris, pp. 283–308.
  5. Madec G. (1974) Saint Ambroise et la philosophie. Paris.
  6. Maes B. (1967) La loi naturelle selon Ambroise de Milan. Rome.
  7. Nauroy G. (1985) “L’Écriture dans la pastorale d’Ambroise de Milan”. In: J. Fontaine, C. Pietri (eds.) Le monde latin antique et la Bible, Paris, pp. 371–408.
  8. Studer B. (1989). Dieu sauveur. La rédemption dans la foi de l’Église ancienne. Paris.
  9. Szabò F. (1967) Le Christ créateur chez saint Ambroise. Rome.
  10. Tixeront J. (1921) Histoire des dogmes dans l’Antiquité chrétienne. T. 2: De saint Athanase à saint Augustin (318–430). Paris.

Information about the author

Mattei Paul

Academic Rank: Professor;
Place of work: University Lyon II (Lyon, France); Patristic Instituite Augustinianum (Rome, Iraly);
Post: Scientific adviser;
ORCID: 0000-0002-0250-2739;
Email: paul.mattei@club-internet.fr.