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St. Boniface of Tarsus

Saint Boniface of Tarsus


Boniface was a Roman of the early fourth century, who was fond of many material vices, but maintained a great sense of generosity and charity, often spending his money as freely on the poor as on himself. He served as steward to a young noblewoman named Aglaia, and as both were attractive and equally prone to indulgence, they soon began an affair. When her conscience finally began to sting, by the grace of God, Aglaia commanded Boniface to seek out relics of some of the Christian martyrs, to aid them in striving to live more virtuously. Boniface, similarly inspired to amend his life, soon found himself in Tarsus, where the Christians were being actively persecuted. Seeing the horrible tortures they suffered, the generous heart of Boniface was roused, and he boldly stepped forward to encourage the martyrs. He was immediately arrested, and when he zealously proclaimed himself a Christian, he shared in the excruciating torments, praising God throughout, until he was finally beheaded. At his death, an earthquake shook the city, inspiring many pagans to convert. Aglaia rejoiced when she discovered her former lover’s glorious fate, and after building a chapel in Rome for his relics, she lived a life of great penance and holiness.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for May 14th

THE birthday of the holy martyr Boniface, who suffered at Tarsus, in Cilicia, under Diocletian and Maximian. His body was subsequently carried to Rome, and buried on the Latin road.

In France, St. Pontius, martyr. Having by his preaching and his zeal converted to the faith of Christ the two Caesars Philip, he obtained the palm of martyrdom under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus.

In Syria, the holy martyrs Victor and Corona, under the emperor Antoninus. Victor was subjected to various horrible torments by the judge Sebastian. As Corona, the wife of a certain soldier, was proclaiming him happy for his fortitude in his sufferings, she saw two crowns falling from heaven, one for Victor, the other for herself. She related this to all present, and was torn to pieces between two trees; Victor was beheaded.

In Sardinia, the holy martyrs Justa, Justina, and Henedina.

At Rome, pope St. Paschal, who took up from the crypts many bodies of the holy martyrs, and placed them honorably in various churches.

At Ferentino, in Tuscany, the holy bishop Boniface, who was renowned from his childhood for holiness and miracles, as is related by the blessed pope Gregory.

At Naples, in Campania, St. Pomponius, bishop.

In Egypt, St. Pachomius, an abbot, who erected many monasteries in that country, and wrote a monastic rule, which was dictated to him by an angel.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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