Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1782
Donatus, a presbyter of African origin and member of the clergy of Milan, detracts from the memory of the late Bishop Ambrose of Milan, and is immediately struck down with illness and dies shortly after, 397/422. Account of Paulinus of Milan, Life of Ambrose, 412/413 or 422.
54, 1. Igitur Donatus quidam natione Afer, presbyter tamen ecclesiae Mediolanensis, cum in convivio positus, in quo erant nunnulli militares viri religiosi, detraheret memoriae sacerdotis, apsernantibus illis et deserentibus linquam nequam, subito vulnere percussus gravi, de eodem loco in quo iacebat alienis manibus sublatus in lectulum positus est, atque inde ad sepulcrum usque perductus. 2. In urbe etiam Carthaginensi, cum apud Fortunatum convivium convenissem una cum Vincentio Colusitano episcopo, Murano etiam episcopo Bolitano, sed et aliis episcopis et diaconibus, tunc Murano episcopo detrahenti sancto viro rettuli exitum presbyteri superius memorati: quod ille de alio dictum de se oraculum maturo sui ictu comprobavit. 3. Nam de eodem loco in quo iacebat, cum subito vulnere ingenti esset percussus, alienis manibus ad lectum usque portatus est, atque inde ad domum in qua hospitabatur reductus diem clausit extremum. Is finis virorum illi detrahentium fuit, quem videntes qui tunc audierant admirati sunt.
(ed. Bastiaensen 1975: 120, 122)
54. 1. Accordingly, a certain Donatus, an African by birth but a presbyter of the church of Milan, slandered the reputation of the bishop when he was at a banquet attended by a number of devout military men. As they were repudiating and rejecting his wicked tongue, he was suddenly smitten with a grave wound, and from the spot where he lay he was borne off by the hands of strangers and put in a bed, from which he was taken to his grave. Likewise, in the city of Carthage, when I had been invited to the home of the deacon Fortunatus, the brother of the venerable man Bishop Aurelius, along with Bishop Vincent of Colossitanum, Bishop Muranus of Bolita and other bishops and deacons, I told the story of the death of the aforementioned presbyter to Bishop Muranus when he was slandering the holy man. These words about someone else turned out to be a prophecy of his own speedy death. For he was suddenly smitten with a terrible wound, and from the spot where he lay he was; from there he was taken to the house were he was staying, and there he met his end. That was the fate of the men who slandered Ambrose, and those who were present at the time and saw it were amazed at it.
(trans. Ramsey 1997: 217-218)

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Latin North Africa
  • Milan

About the source:

Author: Paulinus of Milan
Title: Life of Ambrose, Vita Ambrosii
Origin: Milan (Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
The Life of Ambrose was composed by Paulinus, deacon in Milan, who was in the service of Ambrose as notarius from AD 394 at the earliest. The successor of Ambrose, Simplician, appointed Paulinus the administrator of the property of the diocese of Milan in North Africa, and he was living in Africa when writing. According to Paulinus, he authored the Life encouraged by Augustine, bishop of Hippo (Life of Ambrose 1). Paulinus based his narrative on personal experience, relations of eyewitnesses, and the works of Ambrose, especially his letters.
The Life was written for certain after the death of Ambrose in 397 and before the death of Augustine in 430. Paulinus, however, mentions in chapter 31 John tunc tribunus et notarius, qui nunc praefectus est ("he was then a tribune and notarius, and now he is a prefect"). We know that John was the prefect of Italy in 412 and 413 and probably also in 422 (see PLRE, v. 1, Iohannes 2) so the Life of Ambrose was composed on one of those dates.
A.A.R. Bastiaensen ed., Vita di Cipriano. Vita di Ambrogio. Vita di Agostino, Milan 1975.
B. Ramsey, Ambrose, London 1997
É. Lamirande, "La Datation de la „Vita Ambrosii” de Paulin de Milan”, Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 27 (1981), 44–55.
A. Paredi, "Paulinus of Milan”, Sacris Erudiri 14 (1963), 206–230.


Entertainment - Feasting
Travel and change of residence
Burial/Funerary inscription
Described by a title - Presbyter/πρεσβύτερος
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Relation with - Soldier/Warrior
Devotion - Supernatural experience
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1782,