Trip Start Feb 23, 2010
40Trip End Jul 15, 2010
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Where I stayed
And now, a quick break for a Catholic history minute. Ambrose did not come to be Bishop in the same way that priests today progress to that vocation. Ambrose was a student of law, literature and rhetoric, and became Governor of Aemilia-Luguria (where Milan is) in 372. Although he had no formal theological training, Ambrose held Catholic values, but was neither baptized nor consecrated. He had strong opposing views of the Arian heresy (the belief that God and Jesus did not coexist eternally) and was so convincing in his arguments that he was elected Bishop in 374, succeeding Bishop Auxentius (an Arian, himself). He held this seat until 397.
The liturgy of the universal Catholic Church is celebrated according to different rites. As the early Church spread, it presented and celebrated the sacraments in ways that would be best understood by the individual cultures it sought to evangelize. This resulted in more than 20 rites in existence today. The various rites maintain the essential characteristics (form and matter) of the sacraments, but may differ slightly in their celebration of the sacraments. One such rite is the Rito Ambrosio (Ambrosian Rite) which is celebrated chiefly in Milan and we took the opportunity to attend an Ambrosian Rite Mass at Sant’Ambrogio on Saturday evening.
We arrived about an hour before so that we could explore the inside of the church. In the front entrance to the church is a beautiful courtyard surrounded by an arcade. The church suffered heavy damage in August 1943 during Allied bombing of Milano, allora much of the structure had to be reconstructed. Around the interior of the church was a gallery with numerous side chapels. A wedding was about to take place and guests were arriving – every one of them looked like a model – even nonna (the "grandmother"--this is Milan, remember!). Anyway, it was a blessing to be able to attend a Mass in the Ambrosian Rite, something that we could only do in Milano, in a church whose foundations date back to the 379.
After Mass we thought we would try to go down to the Milano Wharf to scrounge another cheap meal of vino and antipasto (see previous blog entry). We went to the station near Sant’Ambrogio to catch the Metro to the wharf, but it was closed! Seems this was May 1st, an official holiday honoring workers and the Metro closed early. Allora, we decided to walk back to our hotel and went to a nearby restaurant for gnocchi with parmigiana and swordfish on tagliatelle.