While reading through Ambrose’s life summary, one thing that stood out for me was how, after the massacre of Thessalonica, Ambrose actually excommunicate Theodosius. Is there a reason why he did that? I mean they are pagans, no different from the civilians killed during the crusade – and if anythign, isn’t it better for the early church to have a stable ground?
I believe he excommunicated him because massacring innocent people is a mortal sin. A comparison to the Crusades is appropriate for several reasons, one of which is, the Fourth Crusaders were similarly excommunicated in part for massacring innocent people.
I think you are confused about the citizens of Thessalonica. They were citizens of the Empire and Christian, not pagan.
Ambrose likely had several motivations first of which was horror over the massacre and the need for Theodosius to repent. Ambrose was more than just “a” bishop, he was Theodosius’s bishop and therefore I’m sure felt responsible for her soul. That seems evident in letter 51.
Second was likely sending a clear message to the emperor that the church would not be complicit and tacitly condone his actions by allowing him a place of honor in the church and at mass.
Third, if it could happen in Thessalonica, it could happen in Milan. He had a responsibility to the people to push the emperor to see his error and never repeat it.
Also, even if the Thessalonians were pagan, Christians aren’t supposed to murder people for the Lord. We’ve done it, certainly, but that doesn’t make it right. Good on Bishop Ambrose for refusing to condone such a thing even from the Emperor.
Theodosius and associates are sometimes said to be complicit in destroying an estimated over one million volumes in irreplaceable knowledge on all subjects in the Alexandria library in about 392.
All knowledge is incomparably precious and is objectively open to everyone of all views.
Discernment in teaching and learning is essential but that was not the way to engineer it.
(They may have had a case for a limited putting aside of certain occult materials - or requesting the occult authorities place them in their own institutions.)
All sciences are in turmoil ever since because of the distortion of facts that were actually known.
The situation may have been an over-reaction to the Julian period - I keep meaning to find out more about that. I have my suspicions about what was being pushed by some people round about then.
Some high-demand movements make Constantine a culprit for disorders in the Church but I think that not very appropriate.
There is no evidence that Theodosius did anything bad to the library of Alexandria, which was still open almost a century after Theodosius’s reign ended. That is my understanding anyway – if you have evidence otherwise, I would love to know more.