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III. Historical Summary and Chronological Tables.
340. Birth of St. Ambrose (probably at Trèves), youngest son of Ambrose, Prefect of the Gauls. Constantine II. killed at Aquileia. Death of Eusebius.
341. Seventh Council of Antioch. Second exile of St. Athanasius.
343. Photinus begins teaching his heresy.
347. Birth of St. John Chrysostom. Council of Sardica. St. Athanasius restored.
348. Birth of Prudentius the Christian poet.
349. Synod of Sirmium against Photinus.
350. Death of the Emperor Constans. St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers. Magnentius proclaimed Emperor of the West.
351. Photinus condemned by a semi-Arian synod.
352. Liberius, Pope in succession to Julius.
353–4. About this date St. Ambrose is taken by his mother to live at Rome, where his sister Marcellina received the veil at the hands of Liberius at Christmas, either a.d. 353, or more probably 354. Suicide of Magnentius the Emperor.
354. Birth of St. Augustine. Death of the Emperor Gallus.
355. Liberius the Pope, Dionysius, Bishop of Milan, and Lucifer, Bishop of Cagliari, banished by an Arian synod at Milan. Third exile of St. Athanasius.
356. Banishment of St. Hilary of Poitiers.
357. Liberius subscribes (as the Arians say) an Arian Creed, and returns to Rome a.d. 358.
359. Council of Ariminum. Macedonius of Constantinople deposed. Eudoxius consecrated Bishop.
361. Julian Emperor.
362. Fourth exile of St. Athanasius.
363. Death of the Emperor Julian. St. Athanasius restored. Felix Pope.
364. Death of the Emperor Jovian. Valentinian and Valens Emperors.
366. Death of Liberius in September. Damasus elected in his place, but the see is also claimed by Ursinus.
367. Gratian, though only a boy, declared Augustus by his father Valentinian.
368–74. Successful career of St. Ambrose in legal business and as “consular.”
370. St. Basil, Bishop of Cæsarea.
372. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Susium.
373. Death of St. Athanasius.
374. Death of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, and election of St. Ambrose, though still only a catechumen, by acclamation. St. Martin Bishop of Tours.
374–5. St. Ambrose sends a deputation of clerics to St. Basil to ask for the body of St. Dionysius, late Catholic Bishop of Milan. [St. Basil, Ep. 197.]
375. Death of Valentinian in November. His son Valentinian is admitted by Gratian to be Emperor of the East, though only four years old.
377. St. Ambrose writes the three books, De Virginibus; one, De Viduis; which is followed by the book, De Virginitate.
378. The first two books, De Fide, written at the request of Gratian, who was setting out to the relief of Valens against the Goths. Valens is overcome and killed at Adrianople. Many Christians having been made captives, St. Ambrose sells Church plate to redeem them.
379. Theodosius is proclaimed Augustus. Death of St. Basil and of St. Ephrem Syrum. Gratian, on his way back from Thrace, requests St. Ambrose to come to meet him and receives the first two books of the treatise De Fide, and asks for a further one of the Holy Spirit; the latter was written two years later. Death of Satyrus, brother of St. Ambrose. The two treatises on his death written.
379–80. Famine in Rome.—See De Off. III. 46–48.
380. Baptism of Theodosius at Thessalonica. Books III.–V. of the De Fide written about this time. The basilica which had been sequestered by Gratian is restored to the Church.
380. Synod at Rome under Damasus at which St. Ambrose was present. Probably in the same year St. Ambrose consecrated Anemius Bishop of Sirmium in spite of Arian opposition.
381. Death at Constantinople of Athanaricus, leader of the Goths. The three books, De Spiritu Sancto, written. Death of Peter, Bishop of Alexandria. The Œcumenical Council of Constantinople commences under the presidency of Meletius of Antioch. Also at Aquileia a council, at which St. Ambrose took a leading part, was held against the heretics Palladius and Secundianus. An account is given of the proceedings in Epistles 9–12.
381–2. St. Ambrose presides over a council of Italian bishops to take into consideration the troubles at Antioch and Constantinople. Epistles 13, to Theodosius, and 14, his reply, state the proceedings. Theodosius summoned a council to consider the same matters at Constantinople.
382. Gratian orders the removal of the image of Victory from the forum at Rome. [Ep. 17, 18.] Acholius, Bishop of Thessalonica, dies and is succeeded by Anysius.
383. The Priscillianists endeavour in vain to gain Damasus and St. Ambrose to their side by means of a visit to Rome and Milan. On the 25th of August Gratian is assassinated at Lyons by the instigation of Maximus. A great dearth at Rome. [De Off. III. 7, 49; Ep. 18.]
383–4. First legation of St. Ambrose to Maximus on behalf of Justina the Empress and her son Valentinian II.
384. The memorial of Symmachus the prefect of the city to Valentinian, requesting the restoration of the Altar of Victory, and the reply of St. Ambrose. [Ep. 17, 18.] A synod at Bordeaux against the Priscillianists. Death of Damasus, who is succeeded by Siricius as Pope.
385. Priscillian and his companions are condemned to death at Trèves at the instigation of the Spanish Bishops Idacius and Ithacius. The Ithacians consecrate Felix as Bishop. [Ep. 42–51.] The persecution at Milan of Catholics by Justina in Holy Week. [Ep. 20.] The law of Valentinian II., granting Arians equal rights with Catholics. Auxentius claims the see of Milan. [Sermon against Auxentius and Ep. 21.] The deposit which a widow had entrusted to the Church at Trent having been carried off by imperial order, St. Ambrose succeeds in procuring its restitution. [De Off. II. 29, 150, 151.] New basilica at Milan consecrated.
386. Finding of the bodies of St. Gervasius and Protasius [Ep. 22]. Epistle 23 to the bishops of the province of Æmilia on the right day for the observance of Easter.
386–7. The exposition of the Gospel according to St. Luke written.
387. Baptism of St. Augustine at Milan by St. Ambrose at Easter. Second mission of St. Ambrose to Maximus. [Ep. 24.] Expulsion of St. Ambrose from Trèves because of his refusal to communicate with the murderer of his sovereign. In the later part of the year Maximus crosses into Italy and enters Milan.
388. At Constantinople the Arians destroy the residence of the Catholic Bishop Nectarius. [Ep. 40, § 13.] Death of Justina, and conversion of Valentinian II. by Theodosius. Theodosius marches against Maximus, who is everywhere defeated [Ep. 40, § 23], and executed at Aquileia. Third application concerning the Altar of Victory.
390. The excessive cruelty with which Theodosius punished a sedition at Thessalonica brought on him exclusion from communion, and a severe rebuke at the hands of St. Ambrose. The Emperor’s penitence and readmission to communion. A synod is held at Milan against the Ithacian heretics, and Felix, Bishop of Trèves. [Ep. 51.]
391–2. The deputation of part of the Roman Senate to Valentinian to request the restoration of the Altar of Victory in the Forum. [Ep. 57, § 5.] The treatise De institutione Virginis, written about this time, as also, De Officiis.
392. Valentinian II. killed at Vienne by Arbogastes [Ep. 53, § 2; De ob. Valent. 25 ff.]. His body is brought to Milan. The address, Consolatio de ob. Val. A further delegation from the Senate is sent to Eugenius respecting the Altar of Victory [Ep. 57, § 6 ff.].
393. On the arrival of Eugenius at Milan St. Ambrose leaves the city for Bononia Faventia and Florence. The letters to Eugenius and Sabinus written about this time.
393–4. At Florence St. Ambrose dedicates a basilica, in which he deposits the bodies of the martyrs Vitalis and Agricola, which he had brought from Bononia. His address on this occasion was that which is inscribed, Exhortatio Virginitatis. He writes Ep. 59.
394. Theodosius sets out from Constantinople against Eugenius. About the beginning of August St. Ambrose returns to Milan. Eugenius defeated by Theodosius and slain, Sept. 6. St. Ambrose intercedes and obtains pardon for the followers of Eugenius. After this St. Ambrose writes the Enarrationes on Psalms 35–40 and Ep. 61, 62.
395. Death of Theodosius at Milan. St. Ambrose’s oration De obitu Theodosii. Honorius and Arcadius Emperors. St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. Death of Rufinus.
396. Dissensions at Vercellæ, the occasion of writing Ep. 63, and of a visit to that Church.
397. St. Ambrose consecrates a bishop for Ticinum, and shortly after falls ill. He commenced the Enarratio on Psalm 43, which he left unfinished; and died in the night between Good Friday and Easter Eve, having recommended Simplicianus as his successor.
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