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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Valentinianus (2)


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Valentinianus (2) II., emperor, a.d. 375–392, son of Valentinian I. and of Justina, his second wife. For his secular life see D. of G. and R. Biogr. His name is celebrated in church history in connexion with two matters: (1) An attempt in 384 by the Roman Senate to restore the altar of Victory and the pagan rites connected with the Senate. We possess the document Relatio Symmachi Urbis Praefecti on the one side and the Epp. xvii. and xviii. of St. Ambrose to Valentinian on the other (cf. St. Ambr. opp. Migne, Patr. Lat. t. xvi. col. 962–982 ). St. Ambrose carried the day, and the senatorial petition was rejected, as again in 391 (see Tillem. Emp. v. 244, 300, 349). (2) The other matter concerned the necessity of baptism. Valentinian died at Vienne in Gaul, being then about 20, and only a catechumen. Being anxious to receive baptism, he sent for St. Ambrose to baptize him. Before the sacrament could be administered, he was found dead. St. Ambrose's treatise, de Obitu Valentiniani Consolatio , §§ 51–56, shews how Ambrose rose superior to any hard mechanical view of the sacraments and recognized the sincere will and desire as equivalent to the deed (cf. Tillem. Emp. v. 356; De Broglie, L’Eglise et l’Empire , pt. iii. cc. v. and viii.). At one time Valentinian was inclined to support the Arian party at Milan, influenced by his mother Justina, who was bitterly hostile to St. Ambrose. Sozomen (H. E. vii. 13), followed by Ceillier (v. 386), represents Valentinian and the empress as persecuting St. Ambrose and the Catholics of Milan in 386, referring to Cod. Theod. lib. xvi. tit. i. leg. 4. [Ambrosius; Justina.]

[G.T.S.]


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Valentinianus (2)'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hwd/v/valentinianus-2.html. 1911.

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