DOBRÝ HAD A JELEN. DVA OBRAZY KRISTA V KÁZÁNÍ SVATÉHO AMBROŽE
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GOOD SERPENT AND DEER: TWO SYMBOLS OF CHRIST IN THE PREACHING OF ST AMBROSE
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Saint Ambrose (died 397) employs two zoological symbols of Christ to introduce his audience deeper into the mystery of Christ. Firstly, the paper analyses the symbol of the good serpent used by the Bishop of Milan to describe all of the history of salvation from the original purity of the first man, through his fall, the coming and victory of Christ the Saviour to the calling of the Christian faithful to become good serpents who will enter into the glory of Christ, the Good Serpent. Secondly, it studies the image of a deer surrounded by enemies and winning over the serpent, which primarily represents the divine attributes of Christ. Simultaneously, this symbol represents an invitation addressed to the Church of Milan at the end of the 4th century to listen to the voice of Christ when persecuted by those who denied Christ’s divinity. We come to the conclusion that both symbols allowed his audience to understand God’s activity as a present-day reality which the faithful can enter into. At the same time, they embody a means to clarify one of the essential truths of the Christian faith, i.e. that Christ heals humanity poisoned by sin directly in the misery of sin and death which was part of the Milanese Christians’ lives on the level of both social and economic crisis, and in the conflict with other religious groups. Both images exemplify an exhortation as to how to behave in the present-day situation: the faithful, similar to the serpent, are supposed to bring testimony-martyrdom and contemplate the coming of Christ the Word with the acute eyes of a deer.
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