Boniface, Saint

Boniface, Saint

biographical name

(born 675, Wessex, Eng.—died June 5, 754, Dokkum, Frisia; feast day June 5) English missionary and reformer. Originally named Wynfrith, he became a Benedictine monk and then a priest. He made two attempts to convert the Frisian Saxons; in 718 he journeyed to Rome, where Pope Gregory II entrusted him with a mission to the pagans east of the Rhine and gave him the name Boniface. In 722 at Hesse he founded the first of many Benedictine monasteries. He was active for 10 years (725–735) in Thuringia. He established four bishoprics in Bavaria, paving the way for its incorporation into the Carolingian empire. He convened five synods (740–745) to reform the Frankish clergy and Irish missionaries and a council (747) to reform the entire Frankish kingdom. He was killed by a band of Frisians while reading the Bible to recent converts.

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