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date: 23 January 2020


  • James W. McKinnon


(b Trier, c340; d Milan, 397). Saint, bishop and Doctor of the Church. He was the son of the Roman prefect of Gaul, and embarked upon a successful political career, being named consular governor of Liguria and Aemilia in about 370. While yet unbaptized he was elected Bishop of Milan by popular acclaim on 7 December 374. Together with Augustine and Jerome he is acknowledged as one of the three great Latin Church Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries. He was primarily a public figure, however, unlike Augustine, the philosopher, or Jerome, the scholar; he consolidated the position of the Church against the powerful Arian heresy and the counter-attacks of paganism.

Tradition has assigned him a musical significance exceeding that of any other early Christian leader. This purported achievement can be summarized under four headings: (1) the co-authorship with Augustine of the Te Deum; (2) an involvement in the composition and organization of the Milanese or Ambrosian chant comparable to that formerly attributed to ...

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