Italian theologian and writer (1386-1439)
Ambrose of Camaldoli, Saint, an Italian theologian and writer, b. at Portico, near Florence, September 16, 1386; d. October 21, 1439. His name was Ambrose Traversari. He entered the Order of the Camaldoli when fourteen and became its General in 1431. He was a great theologian and writer, and knew Greek as well as he did Latin. These gifts and his familiarity with the affairs of the Church led Eugenius IV to send him to the Council of Basle, where Ambrose strongly defended the primacy of the Roman pontiff and adjured the council not to rend asunder Christ's seamless robe. He was next sent by the Pope to the Emperor Sigismond to ask his aid for the pontiff in his efforts to end this council, which for five years had been trenching on the papal prerogatives. The Pope transferred the council from Basle to Ferrara, September 18, 1437. In this council, and later, in that of Florence, Ambrose by his efforts, and charity toward some poor Greek bishops, greatly helped to bring about a union of the two Churches, the decree for which, July 6, 1439, he was called on to draw up. He died soon after. His works are a treatise on the Holy Eucharist, one on the Procession of the Holy Ghost, many lives of saints, a history of his generalship of the Camaldolites. He also translated from Greek into Latin a Life of Chrysostom (Venice, 1533); the Spiritual Wisdom of John Moschus; the Ladder of Paradise of St. John Climacus (Venice, 1531), P.G., LXXXVIII. He also translated four books against the errors of the Greeks, by Manuel Kalekas, Patriarch of Constantinople, a Dominican monk (Ingolstadt, 1608), P, G., CLII, col. 13-661, a work known only through Ambrose's translation. He also translated many homilies of St. John Chrysostom; the treatise of the pseudo-Denis the Areopagite on the celestial hierarchy; St. Basil's treatise on virginity; thirty-nine discourses of St. Ephrem the Syrian, and many other works of the Fathers and writers of the Greek Church. Dom Mabillon's "Letters and Orations of S. Ambrose of Camaldoli" was published at Florence, 1759. St. Ambrose is honored by the Church on November 20.
JOHN J. A' BECKET