CHAPTER 12 – The Celebration of the Solemnity of Lauds

… an Ambrosian hymn … RB 12:14

Ambrose (340-397) wrote hymns placing Christian ideas in a classical phraseology that appealed to popular tastes. He was linked with Hilary of Poitiers and Isadore of Seville as the composers of Latin hymns. The three are considered pioneers of Western hymnody.

Ambrose founded a new form that had a definite meter. He chose a simple strophe consisting of four lines of eight syllables each which is a lyric meter suitable for congregational singing and easy to memorize.

Many of the texts of the hymns attributed to Ambrose were meant to refute the errors of the Arians of his time. The hymns were used to convey correct doctrine to the minds and hearts of the people. (Arianism is the theological teaching of Arius [c. 250-336]. Arius promoted the heretical error that Jesus Christ was not of one substance with God and that there was a time before the second person of the Trinity existed.)

His chants were used in the Church until the time of Gregorian chant which supplanted it from the 8th century, onward.

Benedict, in the Rule, used hymns in the Liturgy of the Hours that he called Ambrosian, a term to be understood as referring to hymns composed by Ambrose or by others who followed his form.