Autpert, Ambrose, St.

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Benedictine preacher and writer; b. southern Gaul, early eighth century; d. Italy, January 30, 784. He entered the monastery of St. Vincent on the Volturno near Benevento in 754 and after ordination devoted himself especially to preaching. He soon acquired a reputation for learning and holiness and in 777 was elected abbot by the Frankish monks of the monastery; a rival group of Lombard monks elected another abbot. Although in the conflict Autpert resigned, Charlemagne ordered the matter to be submitted to the pope. On the way to Rome Autpert died. The Benedictine chronicler calls him "sanctissimus" because of his great virtue, the Bollandists gave him the title "saint", and his cultus has been approved. Autpert was one of the most outstanding men of his time, far in advance of his contemporaries in learning, culture, and spiritual insight. Though a prolific writer, he remained comparatively unknown for many centuries, and his writings were ascribed to famous men of preceding ages, including SS. Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great, Leo the Great, and Isidore of Seville. Recent scholarship has reestablished much of Autpert's literary heritage. Among his works are a long commentary on the Apocalypse [Speculum parvulorum in Maxima Bibliotheca vet. Patrum (v. 13 Lyons 1677) 403657]; an ascetical treatise very widely read in the Middle Ages under the name of other authors, Conflictus vitiorum atque virtutum (Patrologia Latina 83:113144); the lives of several saints; and a number of sermons and homilies.

Feast: July 19.

Bibliography: j. winandy, Ambroise Autpert: Moine et théologien (Paris 1953); "L'Oeuvre littéraire d' A. A.," Revue Bénédictine 60 (1950) 93119. u. berliÈre, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 2:111516. l. bergeron, Dictionnaire de spiritualité ascétique et mystique. Doctrine et histoire, ed. m. viller et al. (Paris 1932) 1:429.

[m. j. barry]