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AMBROSIANS: Name of several religious societies, organized in the city or diocese of Milan after the fourteenth century, which chose St. Ambrose as their patron. The only one to attain more than local importance was the Order of the Brethren of St. Ambrose of the Grove (Fratres S. Ambrosii ad Nemus), founded before 1530 by three pious Milanese, Alexander Crivelli, Alberto Besuzi, and Antonio Petrasancta, and called after their meeting-place, a grove outside the Porta Cumena in Milan, to which Ambrose used at times to resort (cf. his De bono mortis, iii. 11). Gregory XI. confirmed the society in 1375 on the rule of St. Augustine; Eugenius IV. in 1445 united it with three other Ambrose-brotherhoods, which had originated independently at Genoa, Eugubio, and Recanati near Ancona, into a Congregatio S. Ambrosii ad Nemus Mediolanensis. Sixtus V. brought about in 1589 the reunion of the Milanese and a non-Milanese division of the order, which was temporarily separated under the name of Congregatio fratrum S. Ambrosia ad Nemus et S. Barnabæ. To these combined Ambrose and Barnabas orders, Paul V. granted many privileges in 1606. But Innocent X., considering the smallness and insignificance of the order, decided upon its dissolution about 1650. The bull with respect to it is given in the Bullarium magnum, iii. 194.

The following societies were confined to Milan and its neighborhood: (1) The Nuns of St. Ambrose of the Grove, founded in 1475 by two ladies of Milan not far from Pallanza on Lago Maggiore. (2) The Schola S. Ambrosii or Oblationarii, a society of old men and women who undertook to assist at the Ambrosian mass in the churches of Milan, especially in bringing oblations (oblationes). (3) The Society of the Oblates of St. Ambrose, founded by Archbishop Carlo Borromeo and confirmed by Gregory XIII. in 1578. They were bound to strict obedience to superiors, especially the archbishop of Milan. During the seventeenth century the society was in a flourishing state and numbered about 200 members, but having decreased to only 16 in 1844 it was abolished.

O. Zöckler†.

Bibliography: Helyot, Ordres monastiques, iv. 52-63, Paris, 1715; Heimbucher, Orden und Kongregationen, i. 488-489, 510, ii. 336-338.

« Ambrosian Chant Ambrosians Ambrosiaster »
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