In Ambrose of Milan the Latin west acquired a major figure, a Roman aristocrat deeply attached to tradition, not disposed to think the Greek east a superior guide to right faith. Yet he derived his grasp of the Christian faith from Origen's sermons and other Greek Christians. He once remarked how superior Origen was on the Old Testament compared with his work on the New (ep. 65 = M75, 1). He admired Basil's Hexaemeron. In polemic against Arianism he exploited Didymus the Blind and Athanasius. His high posthumous reputation in the east was admittedly assisted by pseudonymous texts created in anti-monophysite interest (cited in Theodoret, PG 83. 181f. pp. 161-5 Ettlinger). The fact that a Chalcedonian supporter had the idea of inventing texts to be ascribed to Ambrose shows that for Greeks his name stood high. The Latin west owed much to him both in the general establishment of orthodoxy as defined by the Nicene creed and in the conversion of society from polytheism. He saw the Church steadily increasing in numbers (Exameron 3. 1. 4) while pagan priests were daily diminishing (in Ps. 36. 28). For his biography his own writings and especially the letters are a mine of information. The Life composed by Paulinus deacon of Milan at the suggestion of Augustine in 422 is mainly concerned to stress the miraculous in the expulsion of demons, healings, and even resuscitation of the dead. As City of God 22. 8 shows, Augustine was at this stage of his life interested in answering a pagan objection. Miracles still happen now and could therefore happen in the time of Jesus.
With Julian's death the external underpinning of pagan cult by public authority collapsed. But that did not mean the conversion of hearts and minds to the Christian gospel. The last quarter of the fourth century saw a strenuous effort by the churches to evangelize, using a gradual method of persuasion for the educated and asking landowners to erect churches on their
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Publication information: Book title: The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great. Contributors: Henry Chadwick - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: Oxford. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 348.