By: Saint Ambrose (337/340-397)
On the Duties of the Clergy
Aurelius Ambrosius was a fourth century cleric who rose to become the Archbishop of Milan in 374 AD. His father was a powerful Roman general and the prefect of Gaul. His brother and sister were also consecrated as saints by the Catholic Church. As an infant, a swarm of bees settled over his face and flew away without harming the baby, but left behind a drop of honey and this was seen as a sign of his future eloquence and bees are often painted in his portraits as his symbols. Ambrosius (or Ambrose as he is referred to in English) was a highly learned man, well versed in Latin and Greek, theology and many other subjects...
Concerning Virgins (De Virginibus) is a series of letters, compiled into three “books,” St. Ambrose wrote to his sister, Manellia, These, perhaps Ambrose’s earliest writings, were written in 377 CE. Written in a rather light-handed non-technical style they appear as ethical guides to women who are contemplating entering nunneries. More importantly, they set the tone for Ambrose’s later writing on ethics. Concerning Virgins was referred to by other patristic writers including St. Jerome, St Augustine and Cassian, and are now included in the extra-biblical cannon of the early church fathers.