Ambrose's Letter V, 18 (70) on Micah as a Christian testimony to conversion and peace, fall and penance

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In circa 387 AD bishop Ambrose of Milan wrote an epistle (70 in PL 16; V, 18 in Faller’s edition) to the priest Orontianus that was full of quotations from the book of the Old Testament prophet Micah and allusions to it. In this letter Ambrose gives a spiritual interpretation of Micah as a testimony to the soul’s conversion to Christ, the peace that it found, its subsequent fall nonetheless, and its new repentance that was mercifully accepted by God. In his application of Micah’s book to the vicissitudes of the soul, Ambrose was inspired by Origen, whose Commentary on Micah is lost to us, but which can be partially retrieved due to the works of other Church Fathers who used it, notably Jerome. Ambrose’s epistle, analysed in this paper, testifies to his pastoral attitude towards ‘fallen’ Christians who had gravely sinned after their initial conversion and baptism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-192
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Ambrose of Milan
  • Epistles
  • Micah
  • spiritual interpretation

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