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Saint Boniface


This Boniface is believed to have been martyred about the year 306. The Book of his Acts was written at a much later date, perhaps after the ninth century and the following summary is taken from it, as being the best known account of him, although it cannot be authenticated from historical records. Boniface was a Roman citizen, the steward of the noble lady Aglae, with whom he had lived a life of sin. The memory of this transgression overwhelmed him with exceeding sorrow, so that for penance he gave himself up to travel about and bury the bodies of the Martyrs. Whilst he was at Tarsus, and apart from his fellow-travellers, he saw a great many persons being in divers ways tormented, because they had confessed to a belief in Christ. Whereupon he kissed their chains, and vehemently exhorted them bravely to bear their suffering: seeing that this same affliction, which was but for a moment, was working for them an exceeding, even an eternal, weight of glory. For this cause Boniface was arrested, and his flesh torn with iron claws. Sharp reeds also were driven into the quick under his finger nails, and bits of molten lead poured into his mouth. And in his agony he was heard only to say: I thank thee, O Lord Jesu Christ, Son of God! And after other tortures, he was beheaded. The fellow-travellers of Boniface sought him the next day, and when they had learnt that he had undergone martyrdom, they bought his body for fifty shillings; and after that they had embalmed it with spices, and wrapped it in linen, they carried it to Rome. The Lady Aglae, who had with great contrition given up herself to a life of godly works, went forth to meet the holy body, and built a Church in the name of Boniface, wherein these relicks were buried, namely, on the fifth day of June next after that fourteenth day of May whereon he had been martyred at Tarsus in Cilicia.


GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God: that we who keep the feast of thy blessed Martyr Boniface; may by his intercession find succour in thy sight. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1212

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