Chapter XXX.—Dissension about a Successor to Auxentius, Bishop of Milan. Ambrose, Governor of the Province, going to appease the Tumult, is by General Consent and with the Approval of the Emperor Valentinian elected to the Bishopric of that Church.
About the same time it happened that 662 another event took place at Milan well worthy of being recorded. On the death of Auxentius, who had been ordained bishop of that church by the Arians, the people again were disturbed respecting the election of a successor; for as some proposed one person, and others favored another, the city was full of contention and uproar. In this state of things the governor of the province, Ambrose by name, 663 who was also of consular dignity, dreading some catastrophe from the popular excitement, ran into the church in order to quell the disturbance. As he arrived there and the people became quiet, he repressed the irrational fury of the multitude by a long and appropriate address, by urging such motives as they felt to be right, and all present suddenly came to an unanimous agreement, crying out that Ambrose was worthy of the bishopric, and demanding his ordination: for by that means only, it was alleged, would the peace of the p. 114 church be secured, and all be reunited in the same faith and judgment. And inasmuch as such unanimity among the people appeared to the bishops then present to proceed from some Divine appointment, immediately they laid hands on Ambrose; and having baptized him—for he was then but a catechumen—they were about to invest him with the episcopal office. But although Ambrose willingly received baptism, he with great earnestness refused to be ordained: upon which the bishops referred the matter to the Emperor Valentinian. This prince regarding the universal consent of the people as the work of God, sent word to the bishops to do the will of God by ordaining him; declaring that his choice was by the voice of God rather than by the votes of men. Ambrose was therefore ordained; and thus the inhabitants of Milan who were divided among themselves, were once more restored to unity.
Synchronization of the events attending the accession of Damasus and Ambrose, the former in Rome, the latter at Milan, is dependent on Rufinus. Cf. H. E. II. 11. The events of this chapter more properly fall within the time reached by Socrates, i.e. 374 a.d. (see chap. 29, note 1). Hence rightly seven years later than the events of the preceding chapter.113:663
A Roman by race, born in 333 a.d., turned to ecclesiastical and literary pursuits in the manner described in this chapter. Cf. Sozom. VI. 24; Theodoret, H. E. IV. 6; Rufinus, H. E. II. 11.