Presbyters Uniwersytet Warszawski
ER 1886
Augustine shortly before his conversion has a conversation with Simplicianus, probably a presbyter in Milan and a spiritual father of Bishop Ambrose of Milan, Milan, AD 386. Account of Augustine, "The Confessions", written in Hippo, AD 397/400.
Book 8
1. [...] et immisisti in mentem meam uisum que est bonum in conspectu meo pergere ad simplicianum, qui mihi bonus apparebat seruus tuus et lucebat in eo gratia tua. audieram etiam, quod a iuuentute sua deuotissime tibi uiueret; iam uero tunc senuerat et longa aetate in tam bono studio sectandae uitae tuae multa expertus, multa edoctus mihi uidebatur: et uere sic erat. unde mihi ut proferret uolebam conferenti se cum aestus meos, quis esset aptus modus sic affecto, ut ego eram, ad ambulandum in uia tua. [...]
2. perrexi ergo ad simplicianum, patrem in accipienda gratia tunc episcopi ambrosii et quem uere ut patrem diligebat. narraui ei circuitus erroris mei. ubi autem commemoraui legisse me quosdam libros platonicorum, quos uictorinus quondam, rhetor urbis romae, quem christianum defunctum esse audieram, in latinam linguam transtulisset, gratulatus est mihi, quod non in aliorum philosophorum scripta incidissem plena fallaciarum et deceptionum secundum elementa huius mundi, in istis autem omnibus modis insinuari deum et eius uerbum.
(ed. L. Verheijen 1981: ...)
Book 8
1. [...] You [God] inspired in me the idea that I ought to go to Simplicianus, and even I could see the sense of this. I regarded him as your good servant, a man from whom grace radiated. Moreover I had heard how from his youth he had lived for you in complete dedication, and since he was an old man by now I assumed that after following your way of life for long years and with such noble zeal he must be rich in experience and deeply learned. And so indeed he was. I hoped, therefore, that if I could discuss my perplexities with him he would bring out from his storehouse appropriate advice as to how a man in my condition might walk in your way. [...]
2. Accordingly I made my way to Simplicianus. When Ambrose, then bishop, had been baptized, Simplicianus had stood as father to him, and Ambrose regarded him with affection as a father indeed. To him I described the winding paths of my wayward life. When I mentioned that I had read certain Platonist books, translated into Latin by Victorinus, who had formerly been a rhetorician in Rome but had, as I had heard, died a Christian, Simplicianus told me how fortunate I was not to have stumbled on the writings of other philosophers, works full of fallacies and dishonesty that smacked of the principles of this world, whereas those Platonist writings conveyed in every possible way, albeit indirectly, the truth of God and his Word.
(trans. M. Boulding 1997)


Simplicianus is nowhere directly called a presbyter but there are some indirect indications that he actually was one (he definitely was a cleric in the Church of Milan, distinguished by his experience and education, and involved in teaching). He succeeded Ambrose at the see of Milan in 397.
Simplicianus definitely played part in preparation of Ambrose to the baptism but it is also possible that he actually administered it. Admittedly, Paulinus of Milan in the Life of Ambrose tells that Ambrose insisted on being baptized by a Catholic bishop but his name or see is not mentioned. See Williams 1995: 117-118.

Place of event:

  • Rome
  • Rome

About the source:

Author: Augustine of Hippo
Title: Confessions, Confessiones
Origin: Hippo Regius (Latin North Africa)
Denomination: Catholic/Nicene/Chalcedonian
Augustine of Hippo wrote the Confessions, rhetorical account of his life and conversion, in the first years of his episcopate in Hippo,
L. Verheijen ed., Augustinus. Confessionum libri XIII, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina 27, Turnhout 1981.
Saint Augustine, The Confessions, trans. M. Boulding, New York 1997
Augustine, Confessions, 3 vols., trans. J.J. O`Donnell, Oxford 1992
D.H. Williams, Ambrose of Milan and the End of the Arian-Nicene Conflicts, Oxford 1995.


Entertainment - Secular reading
Further ecclesiastical career - Bishop
Ritual activity - Baptism and instructing catechumens
Reverenced by
Relation with - Bishop/Monastic superior
Education - Theological interest
Pastoral activity - Spiritual direction
Please quote this record referring to its author, database name, number, and, if possible, stable URL: M. Szada, Presbyters in the Late Antique West, ER1886,