This great holy father of the Orthodox Church was of eminent birth. His father was the imperial deputy of Gaul and Spain and was a pagan by faith, but his mother was a Christian. While he was still in the cradle, a swarm of bees settled on him, poured honey onto his lips, and flew away. And while still a child, he extended his hand and spoke prophetically: “Kiss it, for I will be a bishop.” After his father’s death, the emperor appointed him as his representative in the province of Liguria, of which Milan was the chief city. When the bishop of Milan died, a great dispute arose between the Orthodox Christians and the Arian heretics concerning the election of a new bishop. Ambrose entered the church to maintain order, this being his duty. At that moment, a child at its mother’s bosom exclaimed: “Ambrose for bishop!” All the people took this as the voice of God, and unanimously elected Ambrose as their bishop, contrary to his will. Ambrose was baptized, passed through all the necessary ranks and was consecrated to the episcopacy, all within a week. As bishop, Ambrose strengthened the Orthodox Faith, suppressed the heretics, adorned churches, spread the Faith among the pagans, wrote many instructive books, and served as an example of a true Christian and a true Christian shepherd. He composed the famous hymn “We Praise Thee, O God.” This glorious hierarch, whom men visited from distant lands for his wisdom and sweetness of words, was very restrained, diligent and vigilant. He slept very little, labored and prayed constantly, and fasted every day except Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, God allowed him to witness many of His miracles and to perform miracles himself. He discovered the relics of the Holy Martyrs Protasius, Gervasius, Nazarius and Celsus (October 14). Meek toward lesser men, he was fearless before the great. He reproached Empress Justina as a heretic, cursed Maximus the tyrant and murderer, and forbade Emperor Theodosius to enter a church until he had repented of his sin. He also refused to meet with Eugenius, the tyrannical and self-styled emperor. God granted this man, so pleasing to Him, such grace that he even raised the dead, drove out demons from men, healed the sick of every infirmity, and foresaw the future. Ambrose died peacefully on the morning of Pascha in the year 397. (Prologue of Ohrid)
“Blessed is the man…” is sung.
At Psalm 140
In Tone 1
10. Accept our evening prayer, O holy Lord,
and grant us forgiveness of sins,
for You alone manifested the Resurrection to the world.
9. O you people, walk around Zion and encompass her.
And there give glory to Him Who is risen from the dead.
For He is our God
Who delivers us from our sins.
8. Come you people, praise and worship Christ.
Glorify His Resurrection from the dead;
for He is our God Who delivered the world
from the deceit of the enemy.
7. Rejoice, O you heavens;
sound the trumpets, you foundations of the earth;
cry out with joy, O you mountains.
For behold, Emmanuel has nailed our sins to the Cross;
the Giver of Life has put Death to death;
and the Lover of Mankind
has raised up Adam.
6. Let us praise the Lord
Who for our sake was willingly crucified in the flesh.
He suffered, was buried, and rose from the dead.
Therefore, let us sing to Him:
O Christ, keep Your Church in the orthodox faith
and bring peace to our lives;
for You are gracious and love mankind.
5. O Christ our God, as we stand unworthily before Your life-bearing grave,
we offer a hymn of praise to Your ineffable tenderness of heart.
For You, O Sinless One,
in Your loving-kindness have accepted the Cross and death
in order to grant
resurrection to the world.
4. Let us praise the Word
Who is without beginning and co-eternal with the Father.
For our sake He was born of the Virgin;
He freely accepted the Cross and death, and rose in glory.
Therefore, let sing to Him:
Glory to You, O Lord,
the Giver of Life and Saviour of souls.
In Tone 1
3. Adorned with virtue, faithful steward,
you wisely governed both the city and the Church.
The faithful of Milan, inspired by the Holy Spirit,
chose you, their earthly judge, to be their shepherd.
Therefore you are glorified with a twofold crown!
2. Filled with boldness, fearless Ambrose,
you rebuked the emperor’s violence.
As Nathan reproved David for his sin,
so you separated the king from the Church of Christ
until he should bear the fruits of repentance.
1. Cleansed by purity, holy Ambrose,
you were filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Labouring with prayer and vigilance,
you tended the flock of Christ with apostolic zeal.
We rejoice in your memory, vessel of election!
In Tone 4, Glory…
Emulating the Prophet Elijah and John the Baptist
you fearlessly rebuked the evil works of kings.
You adorned the throne of the hierarchy with wisdom;
you strengthened the faithful and converted unbelievers,
nourishing them with the scriptures, the true word of life.
You filled the Church with the sweetness of song.
Holy priest, blessed Ambrose,
pray that as we faithfully celebrate your blessed memory,
Christ our God may be merciful and forgive our sins.
In Tone 1, Now…
Let us sing a hymn of praise to the Virgin Mary,
glory of the whole world!
She was herself formed by human seed,
yet she became the Mother of the Master, the Gate of heaven,
the theme of the angels’ hymn and beauty of the faithful.
She was seen as being heavenly
and the Tabernacle of the Godhead.
She indeed tore down the wall of enmity between God and man,
and brought peace in its place, she opened up the kingdom of heaven.
Let us therefore cling fast to her for she is the anchor of faith,
and let us receive as our stronghold the Lord Who was born of her.
Be of good cheer, then, and have confidence, O people of God,
for He will fight our enemies for us, He is all-powerful!
In Tone 1
O Christ, by Your Passion we have been freed from suffering;
and by Your Resurrection we have been delivered from corruption.
O Lord, glory to You!
The Lord reigns, He is clothed in majesty. Robed is the Lord, and girt about with strength.
Let all creation rejoice, let the heavens be glad,
let the nations clap their hands with joy.
For Christ our Saviour, in His love for mankind,
has nailed our sins to the Cross;
He has put Death to death,
and by raising our fallen forefather, Adam,
He has given life to all mankind.
For He has made the world firm, which shall not be moved.
O God, You are above all understanding;
You are King and Lord of heaven and earth.
Yet of Your own free will,
You allowed Yourself to be crucified because of Your love for mankind.
When You descended below,
Hades was filled with bitterness as You confronted it;
but the souls of the just received You with great joy.
Adam arose when he saw You, his Creator, down in the depths.
What a wonder this is!
You are the life of all and have tasted death
in order to dispel the darkness of the world with Your light.
O Lord, risen from the dead, glory to You!
Holiness befits Your house, O Lord, for length of days.
The myrrh-bearing women were filled with grief
as they hastened with spices to Your tomb;
but they did not find Your most pure body.
Instead, they found an angel
who proclaimed Your unique and glorious Resurrection,
and commanded them to announce to Your Apostles:
The Lord is risen, granting great mercy to the world.
O Mother of God, the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled,
since you remained a virgin both before and after giving birth.
For it was God Who was born of you to restore our human nature.
Therefore, do not overlook your servants who supplicate you in your temple.
Since you have held the merciful Lord in your arms,
be compassionate toward your servants,
and beseech Him to save our souls.
In Tone 1
Though the stone was sealed by the Judeans* and soldiers guarded Your most pure body,* You arose, O Saviour, on the third day* and gave life to the world.* And so the heavenly powers cried out You, O Giver of Life:* Glory to Your Resurrection, O Christ!* Glory to Your Kingdom!* Glory to Your saving plan!** O only Lover of Mankind.
In Tone 4, Glory…
The truth of your deeds made you for your flock a rule of faith* and an image of meekness,* a teacher of continence.* And so you gained the heights through humility,* riches through poverty,* father and bishop, Ambrose.* Intercede with Christ, our God,** for the salvation of our souls.
O Mother of God, the mystery hidden from all eternity* and unknown even to the angels,* was revealed through you to those on earth:* God took on our human nature* and united it to His divine nature in a perfect but unconfused union.* Then, He willingly accepted the cross for our sake* and thereby raised again the first created man,*and saved our souls from death.
Troparia and Kontakia
Troparion, Tone 1: Though the stone was sealed by the Judeans,* and soldiers guarded Your most pure body,* You arose, O Saviour, on the third day,* and gave life to the world.* And so the heavenly powers cried out to You, O Giver of Life:* Glory to Your resurrection, O Christ!* Glory to Your kingdom!* Glory to Your saving plan,* O only Lover of mankind.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Kontakion, Tone 1: You arose in glory from the tomb* and with Yourself You raise the world.* All humanity acclaims You as God.* and death has vanished.* Adam exults, O Master,* and Eve, redeemed from bondage now, cries out for joy:* “You are the One, O Christ, Who offer resurrection to all.”
Now and for ever and ever. Amen.
Theotokion, Tone 1: When Gabriel uttered to you, O Virgin, his ‘Rejoice!’* at that sound the Master of all became flesh in you, the Holy Ark.* As the just David said,* you have become wider than the heavens carrying your Creator.* Glory to Him Who dwelt in you!* Glory to Him Who came forth from you!* Glory to Him Who freed us through birth from you!
Prokeimenon, Tone 1
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in You.
verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O you just; praise befits the righteous. (Psalm 32:22,1)
Alleluia, Tone 1
verse: God gives me vindication, and has subdued people under me.
verse: Making great the salvation of the king, and showing mercy to His anointed, to David, and to His posterity forever. (Psalm 17:48,51)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;* praise Him in the highest.* Alleluia, alleluia,* alleluia. (Psalm 148:1)