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Saint Boniface Biography
Saint Boniface, (c. 672 - June 5, 754 or 755), the Apostle of Germany, born Winfrid or Wynfrith at Crediton in Devonshire. He was of good family, and it was somewhat against his father's wishes that he devoted himself at an early age to the monastic life. He received his theological training in the monasteries of Exeter and Nutcell, and at the age of thirty became a priest.

In 715 he set out on a missionary expedition to Frisia, intending to convert them by preaching to them in their own language, his own Anglo-Saxon language being similar to Frisian, but his efforts were frustrated by the war then being carried on between Charles Martel and Radbod, king of the Frisians.

Boniface again set out in 718, visited Rome, and was commissioned by Pope Gregory II to evangelize in Germany and reorganize the church there. For five years he laboured in Thuringia, Hesse, and Frisia. In 722, he felled the sacred oak dedicated to Thor near the present-day town of Fritzlar in northern Hesse, built a chapel from its wood at the site where today stands the cathedral of Fritzlar, and established the first bishopric in Germany on a hill (Buraburg) facing the town across the Eder river. This event is commonly regarded as the beginning of German christianization. Boniface traveled to Rome to report, and in recognition Gregory II consecrated him bishop with jurisdiction over Germany in 722 and gave him the name "Bonifatius". Boniface again set out for Germany, baptized thousands and dealt with the problems of many other Christians who had fallen out of contact with the regular hierarchy of the Catholic church.

After another visit to Rome in 738 he proceeded to Bavaria, and founded there the bishoprics of Salzburg, Regensburg, Freising and Passau. In 742, one of his chief disciples, Sturm, founded the abbey of Fulda not too far from Boniface's earlier missionary outpost at Fritzlar. Although Sturm was the founding abbot of Fulda, Boniface was very involved in the foundation. The initial grant for the abbey was signed by Carloman, the son of Charles Martel. The support of the Mayors of the Palace and later, the early Pippinid and Carolingian rulers, was important to Boniface's success. Boniface balanced this support and attempted to maintain some independence, however, by attaining the support of the papacy and of the Agilolfing rulers of Bavaria.

After returning from his mission in Bavaria, Boniface resumed his labours in Germany, where he founded the dioceses of Würzburg, Erfurt and Buraburg. By appointing his own followers as bishops, he was able to retain some independence from the Carolingian rulers. He also organised provincial synods in the Frankish Church, and maintained a sometimes turbulent relationship with the king of the Franks, Pepin, whom he may have crowned at Soissons in 751. Boniface had been created a bishop by Gregory II, and after the deposition of the bishop of Mainz in 745, Boniface was granted the metropolitan see.

He had never relinquished his hope of converting the Frisians, and in 754 he set out with a small retinue for Frisia. He baptized a great number, and summoned a general meeting for confirmation at a place not far from Dokkum, between Franeker and Groningen. Instead of his converts, however, a mob of armed pagans appeared who slew the aged archbishop. His remains were finally deposited in the abbey of Fulda.

His feast day is June 5 in the Roman Catholic Church. His feast day is December 19 in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Saint Boniface.