Death of Saint Ambrose in Milan

Death of Saint Ambrose in Milan

Saint Ambrose and Emperor Theodosius I
Source: Wikipedia

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St. Ambrose dies in Milan. Ambrose played a very important role in the development of early Christianity, helping defeat the heresy of Arianism and arguing to keep Christian churches independent of the Roman government.

Ambrose was also a vicious anti-Semite. Not only did he forbid intermarriage between Jews and Christians, but he secured immunity for a bishop who was ordered to help rebuild a Callinicum synagogue that was torn down by a Christian mob:

"Shall the bishop be compelled to re-erect a synagogue? Can he religiously do this thing? If he obeys the emperor, he will become a traitor to his faith; if he disobeys him, a martyr.

What real wrong is there, after all, in destroying a synagogue, a 'home of perfidy, a home of impiety,' in which Christ is daily blasphemed?

Indeed, he must consider himself no less guilty than this poor bishop; at least to the extent that he made no concealment of his wish that all synagogues should be destroyed, that no such places of blasphemy be further allowed to exist."

This immediately sent the message that Christians could get away with doing almost anything against the Jews, leading to an epidemic of synagogues being destroyed across the Roman Empire.

The Jews had it relatively easy, though, because under the influence of Ambrose, Emperor Theodosius I declares war on paganism.

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