Commemoration: St. Boniface
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Annually on June 5
Archbishop of Mainz,
Missionary to the Germans,
Winfred (nicknamed Boniface, meaning"good deeds") was born around 680 a.d., near Crediton in Devonshire, England. He served as the director of a school in Nursling (in Winchester), "where he wrote the first Latin grammar in England, and gave lectures that were widely copied and circulated," (Society of Archbishop Justus).
After being ordained, Boniface traveled to Hesse and Bavaria for missionary work. "In Hesse, in the presence of a large crowd of pagans, he cut down the Sacred Oak of Geismar, a tree of immense age and girth, sacred to the god Thor. It is said that after only a few blows of his axe, the tree tottered and crashed to the ground, breaking into four pieces and revealing itself to be rotted away within. It was the beginning of a highly successful missionary effort, and the planting of a vigorous Christian church in Germany, where Boniface was eventually consecrated bishop," (Society of Archbishop Justus).
Boniface endeavored to reform the church in Europe, establishing cooperation between Italy and France. "He persuaded Carloman and Pepin, the sons of Charles, to call synods for the reform of the church in their territories, where under previous rulers bishoprics had often been sold to the highest bidder," (Society of Archbishop Justus). Historian Christopher Dawson stated that St. Boniface "has had a greater influence on the history of Europe than any other Englishman," (Society of Archbishop Justus).
In his old age, Boniface traveled to Friesland, and found considerable success preaching among the Frisians. On June 5, 754 (the eve of Pentecost), St. Boniface "was preparing a group of Frisians for confirmation when they were attacked and killed by heathen warriors," (Society of Archbishop Justus).
PRAYER (traditional language):
Almighty God, who didst call thy faithful servant Boniface to
be a witness and martyr in the lands of Germany and Friesland,
and by his labor and suffering didst raise up a people for
thine own possession: Pour forth thy Holy Spirit upon thy
Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many
thy holy Name may be glorified and thy kingdom enlarged;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with
thee and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Source: Society of Archbishop Justus, http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/178.html