Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

33—Ambrose of Milan: How the Church Regards the State

By Mike Aquilina ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 11, 2021 | In Way of the Fathers (Podcast)

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Ambrose of Milan, more than any other figure, is invoked in the West as the model for church-state relations. He’s the one who said: “The emperor is within the Church, not above the Church.” And he said it with deeds as well as words. He said it in private letters and public demonstrations. He said it through direct confrontation and civil disobedience. A former politician himself, he had a keen understanding of the game—and in the late fourth century the stakes were very high.


Ambrose, Sermon against Auxentius on the Giving Up of the Basilicas

Ambrose, Letter XXI to Valentinian I

Ambrose, Letter XX to his sister Marcella

Ambrose Letter LI to Theodosius

Ambrose, On the Mysteries

Augustine, Confessions, Book 8.7.15

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Theme music: Gaudeamus (Introit for the Feast of All Saints), sung by Jeff Ostrowski. Courtesy of Corpus Christi Watershed

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Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics. He is executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. See full bio.

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