St. Boniface (672 – 754): Martyr, Apostle of Germany

St BonifaceToday, June 5th, the universal Church celebrates St. Boniface, a brave priest and martyr, who is known as the Apostle to the Germans.

Boniface was devout in his Catholic Faith as a child and as a young youth, leading him to become a priest, an English Benedictine monk, who declined the position of Abbot to serve the Germanic tribes and bring Christ to them. He remained orthodox in his Catholic teaching, keeping the virtues of fidelity and loyalty.

In 719, Pope Gregory II requested that Father Boniface serve as a missionary to the various Pagan tribes. Even Christians lapsed into Paganism, and the teaching of Jesus Christ was mixed with Paganism and orthodoxy. The clergy, many uneducated and lax, taught this kind of error and Father Boniface was to reform those errors. In 722, Father Boniface reported what he found to the Pope, wherein the Pope instructed him to reform the German Church. The Pope sent letters of recommendation to religious and civil leaders.

Charles Martel, the grandfather of Charlemagne, gave Father Boniface a letter of safe conduct so that his journeys would not be jeopardized.

Father Boniface was made a regional bishop and was authorized to organize the entire German Church, wherein he was successful in his brave efforts.

He met with opposition in the Frankish kingdom because of the lay people interfering in the election of bishops, the fact that the clergy needed to be reformed and the lack of papal fidelity.

Bishop Boniface’s goal was to restore obedience to the clergy to their various bishops and to the Pope in Rome, and to establish numerous houses of prayer in the form of Benedictine monasteries. Numerous Anglo-Saxon monks and nuns followed Bishop Boniface also with these goals in mind. Indeed and in fact, Bishop Boniface introduced the nuns to the apostolate of education of the people.

In his final mission to the Frisians, Bishop Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was teaching converts the Sacrament of Confirmation.

We honor you St. Boniface, and the fact that you took up your many crosses and followed Our Lord Jesus Christ, teaching His Catholic Faith to the people of Germany, and dying for your Faith. Please help us dear Saint! We love you and honor you!



Sources: Butler’s Lives of the Saints; Franciscan Media; Vatican website

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Dr. Eowyn

Thank you, Joan, for this account of St. Boniface.

While looking for a pic of St. Boniface, I came across this interesting info:
Once, to prove that the pre-Christian gods were false, St. Boniface struck a huge oak tree believed to be sacred by the pagan Germanic tribe. In front of a large crowd, to demonstrate that their “gods” can’t protect the tree, Boniface struck the tree with an axe but was surprised to find a fir tree growing in its place. Thereafter, the fir tree became associated with the Christian faith — the origin of the Christmas tree!


Thank you, Joan, for helping FOTM to keep our compass pointing “True North.”