Sunday, December 4, 2022

St. Ambrose - Veni Redemptor Genitum

St. Ambrose is often described as one of the four Latin Doctors of the Church*, influential theologians who established the foundations of the church in the fourth century.  Unlike his compatriot Doctors, Ambrose was a most unusual saint.  He was the Roman governor of the province around Milan when he (kind of accidentally) became bishop of Milan.  He was quite popular as Governor and when the crowd was beginning to get rowdy debating who would become the next bishop, someone called out his name as a suggestion.  Suddenly it was a done deal

Except there was this little problem: not only was Ambrose not a priest, he wasn't even baptized as a Christian.  The crowd wasn't about to let minor issues like that stand between them and their new bishop.  So Governor Aurelius Ambrosius became Bishop Ambrose.

He was a force to be reckoned with, even excommunicating Emperor Theodosius the Great (I think that this was the first time this had ever happened).

He also composed the first Christmas Carol, Veni Redemptor Genitum (Come, Redeemer of the Nations).  It is still performed today, 1650 years later.


Veni, redemptor gentium;
ostende partum Virginis;
miretur omne saeculum:
talis decet partus Deum. 

English translation:
Come, Redeemer of the nations;
show forth the Virgin birth;
let every age marvel:
such a birth befits God.

Now the Christmas season is upon us.  It seemed right to start our annual christmas music posts with the very first Christmas carol.

* The others are St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory the Great.  It was sort of a Murderer's Row lineup of the early Church batting order. 


doubletrouble said...

Beautiful music BP, thank you!

Kristophr said...

Eastern Orthodox rebuttal:

BillB said...

But Kristophr, Ambrose was a member of the One Catholic Church. Ambrose is recognized as a Saint in Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and a number of other divisions of Christianity. The beginnings of the real rift between West and East was still nearly a century away and did not come to happen for nearly 600 years.

Kristophr said...

St. Ambrose is OK. I don't have a problem with Catholics.

They are welcome back once they drop these newfangled ideas of theirs.