Saint Boniface bigraphy, stories - Religion

Saint Boniface : biography

c. 7th century - 5 June 754

Saint Boniface () (c. 7th century – 5 June 754), the Apostle of the Germans, born Winfrid, Wynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom of Wessex, probably at Crediton (now in Devon, England), was a missionary who propagated Christianity in the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He is the patron saint of Germany and the first archbishop of Mainz. He was killed in Frisia in 754, along with 52 others. His remains were returned to Fulda, where they rest in a sarcophagus which became a site of pilgrimage. Facts about Boniface's life and death as well as his work became widely known, since there is a wealth of material available—a number of vitae, especially the near-contemporary Vita Bonifatii auctore Willibaldi, and legal documents, possibly some sermons, and above all his correspondence.

Norman F. Cantor notes the three roles Boniface played that made him "one of the truly outstanding creators of the first Europe, as the apostle of Germany, the reformer of the Frankish church, and the chief fomentor of the alliance between the papacy and the Carolingian family."Cantor 167-68. Through his efforts to reorganize and regulate the church of the Franks, he helped shape Western Christianity, and many of the dioceses he proposed remain until today. After his martyrdom, he was quickly hailed as a saint in Fulda and other areas in Germany and in England. His cult is still notably strong today. Boniface is celebrated (and criticized)Van der Goot 1-2, 17. as a missionary; he is regarded as a unifier of Europe, and he is seen (mainly by Catholics) as a German national figure.

Boniface and the Carolingians

Fulda Sacramentary, Saint Boniface baptizing (top) and being martyred (bottom) The support of the Frankish mayors of the palace (maior domos), and later the early Pippinid and Carolingian rulers, was essential for Boniface's work. Boniface had been under the protection of Charles Martel from 723 on. The Christian Frankish leaders desired to defeat their rival power, the non-Christian Saxons, and to incorporate the Saxon lands into their own growing empire. Boniface's destruction of indigenous Germanic pagan sites may have benefited the Franks in their campaign against the Saxons.

In 732, Boniface traveled again to Rome to report, and Pope Gregory III conferred upon him the pallium as archbishop with jurisdiction over Germany. Boniface again set out for what is now Germany, baptized thousands, and dealt with the problems of many other Christians who had fallen out of contact with the regular hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. During his third visit to Rome in 737–38, he was made papal legate for Germany.

After Boniface's third trip to Rome, Charles Martel erected four dioceses in Bavaria (Salzburg, Regensburg, Freising, and Passau) and gave them Boniface as archbishop and metropolitan over all Germany east of the Rhine. In 745, he was granted Mainz as metropolitan see. In 742, one of his disciples, Sturm (also known as Sturmi, or Sturmius), founded the abbey of Fulda not 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, and a supporter of Boniface's reform efforts in the Frankish church. The saint himself explained to his old friend, Daniel of Winchester, that without the protection of Charles Martel he could “neither administer his church, defend his clergy, nor prevent idolatry.”

According to German historian Gunther Wolf, the high point of Boniface's career was the Concilium Germanicum, organized by Carloman in an unknown location in April 743. While Boniface was not able to safeguard the church from property seizures by the local nobility, he did achieve one goal, the adoption of stricter guidelines for the Frankish clergy,Wolf 2-5. which often hailed directly from the nobility. After Carloman's resignation in 747 he maintained a sometimes turbulent relationship with the king of the Franks, Pepin; the claim that he would have crowned Pepin at Soissons in 751 is now generally discredited.Wolf 5.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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