AMBROSIAN 389 AMBROSIAN that the nave and the aisles of the existing basilica correspond with those of the primitive church; the atrium, however, which dates from the ninth cen- tury, i.T much more extensive than that which it re- placed. The sanctuary of the basilica also was enlarged in tlic ninth century, and two smaller apses, Hanking a new central apse of greater depth than the original, were erected. The altar occupies about the same place as in the time of St. Ambrose, and the columns of the ciborium appear never to have been disturbed; they still rest on the original pavement. The Ambrosian basilica, so called even during the life of its founder, was consecrated under circumstances which recall one of the most momen- tous episodes in the relations of Church and State in the fourtli century. On the death of the Em- peror Gratian (3S3), the Empress Justina, in the name of her son, the young Valentinian II, suc- ceeded to the government of the Western half of the Empire. Justina was a zealous Arian, and Milan, where she took up her residence, was militantly or- thodox. As the Arians at the time had no place of worship in Milan, the Empress demanded one from Ambrose; but the Bishop without a moment's hesitation refused to comply with her wish. For more than a year Justina and her advisers endeav- oured to attain their object; but the firmness of Am- brose, who was supported by the Catholics of Milan, brought all their exertions to naught. The crisis in the unprecedented contest came during the Holy Week of 386. .Vmljrose received an order to depart from the city; he replied that he would not desert his flock unless forced to <lo so. He tlicn proceeded to officiate as usual at the Holy Week services in the new basilica. While these functions progressed, the basilica was surrounded by troops, with the de- sign of seizing the Bishop and the church at one stroke, but the people refu.sed to yielil. The doors were closed, and for several days St. Ambrose and the congregation endured a siege. The soldiers, how- ever, were by no means hostile, and many of them joined in the singing of the hvmns composed by the Bishop for the occasion. Under these circumstances, practically abandoned by the soldiers as well as by the people, the Empress was forced to yield, and peace was restored. For the story of the exclusion of Theodosius from taking part in the celebration of the liturgy, as well as the submission of the great Emperor, see AMonosE, S.iixT. After the final victory of Ambrose over the Arian faction at court, the people requested him to con- secrate the bxsilica, which at its opening had only been dedicated. The Bishop replied that he would do so, could he obtain relics of martyrs. This ol>- stacle was removed, St. Augustine informs us (Con- fess., IX, i), by the discoverj' in the Naborian basil- ica of the relics of Sts. Gervasius and Protasius, the location of whose tombs was revealed to St. Ambrose in a vision. The translation of these martyrs' relics to the new basilica was made with the greatest so- lemnity, and served as the crowning triumph of the ortliodox over the Arians. In the explorations of 18G1 the sarcophagi which in the fourth century contained these relics, as well as the sarcophagiis of St. Ambrose, were discovered in the confession of the basilica. The remains of all three saints were found in a porphyry sarcophagus to which they had been transferred, probably in the ninth centurj', by Archbishop . gilbert II (.S2l-.S.'jO). Like his con- temporarj- and friend, St. Paulinus of Nola, St. Am- brose adorned the walls of his basilica with frescoes representing various scenes from the Old and the New Testament. From the distich inscriptions, com- posed by St. Anilirose, accompanying each group, we learn what subjects were depicted. Noe, the ark, and the dove recalled a favourite subject of the catacombs, though the symbolic meaning was somewhat different. Abraham was represented con- templating the stars, less numerous than his pos- terity were destined to be; the same patriarch with Sara, in another scene, was acting as host to Angels. Isaac and Uebecca, two scenes from the life of Jacob, and two from that of Joseph formed part of the cycle from the Old Testament. The New Testament was represented by five scenes: the Annunciation, the conversion of Zaccheus, the Ha;morrhoissa, the Transfiguration, and St. John, reclining on the breast of Our Saviour. The altar of the basilica, erected U! the first half of the ninth centurj', is a work of rare merit. The famous brazen serpent stands on a column in the nave, on the left, and is balanced by a cross on the right. This was brouglit from Constantinople about the year 1001, by Archbishop Arnolf, and placed in the Ambrosian basilica under the supposition that it was the brazen serpent erected in the desert by Moses. Archaiologists regard it aa very probably a pagan emblem of Esculapius. Mauuice M. Hassett. Ambrosian Chant. — The question as to what con- stitutes Ambrosian chant in the sense of chant com- posed by St. Ambrose has been for a long time, and still is, a subject for research and discussion among historians and archaeologists. When the saint be- came Bishop of Milan, in 374, he found a liturgy in use which tradition associates with St. Barnabas. It is presumed that this liturgy, which was brought from Greece and SjTia, included singing by the cele- brant as well as the spoken word and liturgical ac- tion. On the other hand, it is certain that thcprealer part of the chants now used in connection with the Ambrosian, or Milanese, rite, which are frequently designated in the wider sense as Ambrosian chant, originated in sub-sequent centuries as the liturgy was developed and completed. So far no documents have been brought to light which would prove that the saint composed anything except the melodies to most of his hymns. Of a large number of hymns attributed to him, only fourteen are pronounced with certainty to be his, while four more may be assigned to him with more or less probability. Like any other great man who dominates his time, St. Ambrose had many imitators, and it so happened that hymns written by his contemporaries or those who came after him, in the form which he used, that is, the Iambic dimeter, were called "Hyinni Ambrosiani". The confusion brought about in the course of time by the indiscriminate vi.se of this designation has necessitated endless study and research before it was decided with any degree of certainty which hjinns were by .St. Ambrose and which by his imitators. As regards the melodies, it hius been equally diflicult for archaeologists to distinguish them and restore them to what was probably their original form. Although the opinion that the early Western Church received into her liturgy, together with the psalms of the Old Testament, the melodies to which they had Ix^en sung in the Temple and the syna- gogues, and that melismatic chants, (those in which many notes may Ix; sung to one syllable of the text, in contradistinction to syllabic chants, in which there is only one note for each syllable) were in use from the beginning, has been defended with plausibility by men like Hermesdorf, Delitzsch, and, latelj', by rioudard (Cantil^ne Romaine, 1905), no direct con- temporary testimony that such was the case has vet been discovered. It is likely that the florid, or melis- matic, style in which most of our Gregorian •pro- pria are written, and which many authorities hold to be of Hebrew origin, found its way into the Church at a much later period. The literature at the time of St. .mbro.se snows that the Greek music was the only kind known to the saint and his contem|>ora- rics. St. Augustine, who wrote his unfinished work
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