With his background in law, he strove for not only fairness, but a way to make the true faith understandable and workable in daily life. He is often pictured holding a church in his hand because of his staunch defense of Holy Mother Church, and with a beehive which represents wisdom for it was holy wisdom that prompted him to emphasize the social aspects of Christ's teachings and to introduce a set liturgy and chants the people could relate to and recite. This led to the Ambrosian chant, iambic diameter verse form of the Psalms and other hymns - a simple rhythm that would be the precursor to Gregorian chant. He also established the Ambrosian Rite in the liturgy of the Mass which is still used today in the archdiocese of Milan. It was also a forerunner to the rich liturgy of the Church established in later centuries.
Always considered a fair man, one of Ambrose's greatest tests came in 390 when the Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great tried to enter Ambrose's church in Milan. The saint knew the emperor had unjustly approved of the massacre of the Thessalonians and thus ordered this proud ruler to perform public penance before he could enter. It was a clash of Church vs. State and the Holy Spirit prevailed with the emperor submitting to Ambrose's charge. It was a situation that strengthened the status of the Church in the eyes of the people. Ambrose, never one of great health, died in 397 after contributing greatly in the area of moral teachings of the Church. Quite possibly his greatest contribution was his personal teaching, urging, and conversion of his greatest student - Saint Augustine.
There were many Fathers of the Church in the 4th Century and the first part of the 5th Century that were not covered in previous installments, but space does not permit details on each. Suffice it to list the names in chronological order: Arnobius of Africa,, a Rhetorician, which is a master or teacher of rehetoric (310 AD); Lactantius of Fermo, also a Rhetorician (325); Eusebius of Caesarea, the historian (340); Firminius, martyr (340); Saint James of Nisbi (345); Saint Eustachius of Antioch (360); Saint Hilarius of Poitiers (367); Saint Opatus of Milevi, Africa (370); Luciferus of Cagliari in Sardinia, who fought Arianism (371); Saint Athanasius of Alexandria (373); Titus of Bostra (378); Saint Ephrem Cyrus, Deacon of Nisibi, Mesopotamia (379); Saint Zeno of Verona (380); Saint Macarius, Senior Elder (390); Saint Amphilochius of Iconium (394); Saint Philostratus of Brescia (391); Saint Pacianus of Barcelona (392); Didymus of Alexandria (394); and Saint Asterius of Amasea in Pontus (400). The beginning of the 5th Century the illuminaries were Saint Epiphanius of Salamina in Cyprus (403); Saint Prudentius of Spain, who styled the glory of the Christian Poets (405); Rufinius of Aquileia, a priest and monk (410); Sulpicius Severus of Agen, also a priest (415); Saint Jerome of Stridon in Dalmatia (420); Sinesius of Ptolemais(429); Saint Nilus of Mount Sinai, abbot (430); and Saint Paulinus of Nola (430).
But the greatest of all the Doctors thus far and most influential Fathers of the Church, was St. Augustine. Because of his vast influence, we will devote the sixteenth chapter entirely to him and his lasting influence in the Church in The Augustinian Era next issue.