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St. Boniface

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Saint Boniface

Bishop & Martyr

Boniface was born with the name Winfrid in the late seventh century, in what is now Devonshire, England. As a Benedictine monk he attempted to preach in Frisia, but was forced to return to England. A few years later, Pope St. Gregory II sent Boniface to evangelize the German tribes beyond the Rhine. After several years of hard work he was made a bishop, and later appointed an archbishop by Pope St. Gregory III. On one occasion, Boniface encountered Norse pagans in Germany who were worshiping a huge oak tree. Boniface swiftly took up an axe and hewed down the tree, using the timber to build a chapel in honor of St. Peter. The act inspired many conversions, and some consider this story to be the origin of the traditional Christmas tree. The mission in Germany was difficult but successful, resulting in many conversions, reforms, and the first German synod. With the cooperation of the Carolingians, Pope St. Zachary made Boniface Archbishop of Mainz and Primate of Germany; he eventually resigned this office in order to again evangelize in Frisia. After some early success, Boniface and several companions were murdered by Frisian pagans, in the year of Our Lord 754. Boniface is venerated as the Apostle of Germany, as well as a patron of brewers and tailors.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for June 5th

ST. BONIFACE, bishop of Mayence, who came from England to Rome, and was sent by Gregory II to Germany to preach the faith of Christ to the people of that country. Having converted large multitudes to the Christian religion, especially in Friesland, he merited the title of Apostle of the Germans. Being finally put to the sword by the furious Gentiles, he consummated his martyrdom with Eobanus and some other servants of God.

In Egypt, the birthday of the holy martyrs Marcian, Nicanor, Apollonius, and others, who suffered a glorious martyrdom in the persecution of Galerius Maximian.

At Perugia, the holy martyrs Florentius, Julian, Cyriacus, Marcellinus, and Faustinus, who were beheaded in the persecution of Decius.

At Caesarea, in Palestine, the martyrdom of the Saints Zenaides, Cyria, Valeria, and Marcia, who through many torments attained to martyrdom rejoicing.

At Tyre, St. Dorotheus, a priest, who suffered much under Diocletian, but survived until the reign of Julian, under whom his venerable age was crowned with martyrdom, he being then one hundred and seven years old.

At Cordova, in Spain, blessed Sancius, a youth, who, though brought up in the royal court, did not hesitate to undergo martyrdom for the faith of Christ, during the persecution of the Arabs.

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

℟. Thanks be to God.

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