Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1856
Bishop Ambrose of Milan (Italy) replies to the questions of Irenaeus, possibly a cleric in Milan, concerning the interpretation of the Book of Exodus. Ambrose of Milan, Letter 4 (Maur. 27), written in Milan, AD 374/397.
IIII (Maur. 27)
Ambrosius Iraeneo Salutem.
Irenaeus asked Ambrose about the meaning of Exod 8:22. In the letter, Ambrose explains the passage and develops the moral commentary.  
17. [...] Vale, fili, et non erubescas patrem interrogare, qui non erubescis in passionibus Christi gloriari.
(ed. Faller 1968: 26-34; summary M. Szada)
IIII (Maur. 27)
Ambrose to Iraeneus, greetings.
Irenaeus asked Ambrose about the meaning of Exod 8:22. In the letter, Ambrose explains the passage and develops the moral commentary.
17. [...] Farewell, my son, and do not be ashamed to ask questions of your father, as you are not ashamed to glory in the
sufferings of Christ.
(trans. Beyenka 1954: 458-463; Letter 82 in translation)



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.
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, Iraeneus, is treated with paternal affection. He received several letters from Ambrose and is known only from this correspondence. He is never explicitely called a presbyter (or a cleric) and there is a scholarly discussion whether he actually was one - see especially Palanque 1933. That Irenaeus was a lay man is claimed by Paredi 1968: 498 and Zelzer 1978: 15. He is considered a cleric by Mazières 1979 and later by Zelzer 1990: XXI, n. 6. See PCBE, Italie 1, Irenaeus 1.
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
Ambrosius, Epistulae et acta: Epistularum libri VII-VIIII, post O. Faller rec. M. Zelzer 1990, CSEL 82/2.
J.-P. Mazières, "Les lettres d’Ambroise de Milan à Irenaeus.”, Pallas. Revue d’études antiques 26 (1979), 103–114.
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.
J.-R. Palanque, "Deux correspondants de saint Ambroise: Orontien et Irénée”, Revue des Études Latines 11 (1933), 153–163.
A. Paredi, S. Ambrogio e la sua età, Milano 1960.


Writing activity - Correspondence
Reverenced by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Theological interest
Devotion - Reading the Bible and devotional literature
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1856,