Contemporary with Pope Damasus (366-84) a theologian of remarkably independent mind was writing in Rome, with a commentary on the Pauline epistles (without Hebrews, which he did not think Pauline) and a book discussing 'Questions' on the interpretation of the Bible ascribed to Augustine. The commentary survived under Ambrose's name, 1 so that he is usually called Ambrosiaster, the name given to him by Erasmus. The anonymous author knew much about synagogue usage, and once allows himself to say that the ideal expositor of scripture is a converted Jew. He may have been referring to himself. Like Justin he was clear that Jews and Christians worship the same God (on 2 Tim. 1: 3). The ministerial structure of the Church interested him. Damasus he describes as the 'rector' of God's house the Church (on 1 Tim. 3: 15). The commentary on 1 Timothy observes that the orders in the contemporary Church do not correspond to those in the epistle. 'Timothy, whom Paul had made a presbyter, he calls a bishop because the first presbyters were called bishops. . . . That is why in Egypt presbyters minister confirmation if the bishop is absent. Because later presbyters were discovered to be unsuited for the highest position, a change was made in consideration of the future, so that not age in years but merit should be the qualification for a bishop.' Bishop and presbyter have the same ordination, both being sacerdotes; but while every bishop is a presbyter, not every presbyter is a bishop. Now each city has only one bishop (on 1 Cor. 12: 29). But a presbyter is sacerdos no less than he. The author would like to change the custom of reserving that title to bishops.
The seven deacons of Rome cause him anxiety because of their arrogance, the close association with their bishop making them feel superior to the presbyters of the city. In fact their remuneration is greater. It was customary for presbyters to be seated in church, and for deacons to stand. At least at Rome deacons do not presume to sit. They are not commissioned to celebrate the eucharist. They are assistants to the priest. Roman clergy often spare them the indignity of actually pouring water on the priest's hands at the ablutions