Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1852
Bishop Ambrose of Milan (Italy) in a letter to Simplicianus, probably a presbyter in Milan, replies to his questions concerning the interpretation of the Book of Exodus, commenting especially on priesthood and reconciliation of sinners. Ambrose of Milan, Letter 3 (Maur. 67), written in Milan, AD 374/397.
III (Maur. 67)
Ambrosius Simpliciano Salutem.
In the letter Ambrose comments on Lev 10: 16-20 about the sin offering and the prerogatives of the priesthood in the context of penance and reconciliation.
(ed. Faller 1968: 19-26; summary M. Szada)
III (Maur. 67)
Ambrose to Simplicianus, greetings.
In the letter Ambrose comments on Lev 10: 16-20 about the sin offering and the prerogatives of the priesthood in the context of penance and reconciliation.
(trans. Beyenka 1954: 311-317; in the translation Letter 57)


The present letter is not dated and it can only be said that it was written at some point during the episcopacy of Ambrose. Ambrose's addresee is here Simplicianus, most probably the same whom Augustine mentions in the Confessions 8.2 as the pater in accipienda gratia tunc episcopi Ambrosii ([1886]). In his letters to Simplicianus, Ambrose always expresses the filial affection, which suggests seniority of Simplicianus. He succeeded Ambrose in the see of Milan in 397 being already very advanced in age. No source calls Simplicianus explicitely a presbyter, and that he was one is inferred from the indirect evidence.
The text does not make an explicit parallel between the Old Testament priesthood and the priesthood in the Church but it can be detected in a subtext.

Place of event:

  • Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia
  • Milan

About the source:

Author: Ambrose of Milan
Title: Letters, Epistulae
Origin: Milan (Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Ambrose was a bishop of Milan from 374 until his death in 397. We have a collection of his letters organized in three parts. The first one consists of 77 letters organized in ten books most probably by Ambrose himself. He published his letters at some point after the death of Theodosius in 395. From this collection, Book 4 is missing, as are some letters of Books 2 and 4. The second part is the group of letters that survived outside the collection (extra collectionem), and the third is a group of letters concerning the council of Aquileia in 381 (together with the acts of this council). For a detailed discussion on the letters and further reading see Liebeschuetz 2010: 27–48 and Nauroy 2016: 146–160.
O. Faller ed., Epistulae et acta, epistularum libri I-VI, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Lationorum 82/1, Wien 1968
Saint Ambrose, Letters, trans. M. M. Beyenka, Washington D.C. 1954
J.H.W.G. Liebeschuetz, Ambrose of Milan: political letters and speeches, Liverpool 2010.
G. Nauroy, "The Letter Collection of Ambrose of Milan", [in:] Late Antique Letter Collections: A Critical Introduction and Reference Guide, ed. C. Sogno, B.K. Storin, E.J. Watts, Oakland, CA 2016, 146–160.
G. Nauroy, "Édition et organisation du recueil des lettres d’Ambroise de Milan: une architecture cachée ou altérée?", in: La correspondance d'Ambroise de Milan, textes réunis et préparés par A. Canellis, Saint-Étienne 2012, 19-61.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Described by a title - Sacerdos/ἱερεύς
    Ritual activity - Reconciliation/Administering penance
    Reverenced by
    Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
    Education - Theological interest
    Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1852,