Πέμπτη, 29 Μαρτίου 2012

Saint Willibrord, Apostle of the Frisons, of Holland, Zeeland, Flanders and Brabant(739+)

The Saint was born in Northumbria in England around 638. At the age of seven he was sent to the monastery at Ripon for education under St Wilfrid (April 24), the abbot.

At the age of twenty he travelled to Ireland to live among the holy monks of that land; he spent twelve years there as the spiritual child of St Egbert (also April 24).

In 690 St Egbert sent Willibrord as head of a company of twelve monks to take the Gospel to the pagan lands around Frisia.

The holy missionary first went to Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Sergius, then with his fellow-monks preached the Gospel throughout Holland and Zeeland.

In 695 Pope Sergius consecrated Willibrord Archbishop of Utrecht, instructing him to organize the Church throughout that area.

As Archbishop, Willibrord continued to labor tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel in those pagan lands; his missionary travels took him as far as Denmark.

He reposed in peace in 739 at Echternach Monastery (located in present-day in Luxembourg), having served for forty-four years as a bishop and for most of his life as a monastic. His tomb soon became a place of pilgrimage.

Kontakion, First Tone

With wreaths of praise let us crown the glorious Willibrord as a luminary who shone forth, a herald who proclaimed the glad tidings of the triune God, an unshakable pillar of the Orthodox Church, and the merciful intercessor for the Low Lands, who abolished the demonic worship of idols therein, and who prayeth to Christ God, that He grant our souls peace and great mercy.


Thou shonest forth in a heathen land as a beacon of holiness, a brilliant lamp of grace, a light shining in the wilderness with the grace of God; wherefore, we who honor thy memory cry aloud unto thee: Rejoice, O holy hierarch, who didst increase in sanctity from thy youth; rejoice, thou who wast vigilant in all things with a good conscience! Rejoice, O most lauded luminary of Christ; rejoice, thou who didst teach all to keep the commandments of God! Rejoice, thou who didst shine forth like the sun, from the West even unto the North; rejoice, thou who, seeing the Frisians languishing in demonic idolatry, didst piously yearn for their conversion to the Faith of Christ! Rejoice, O ever-memorable wonderworker; rejoice, healer of souls and bodies! Rejoice, O Willibrord who art unceasing in thine entreaties to the Lord, that He grant our souls peace and great mercy!

(Source: http://www.abbamoses.com/months/november.html


Fr Dionyius'What a good sign that some Westerners are turning to Orthodoxy. The fact that some are also venerating the saints that lived in the West before the Catholic Schism shows how the Holy Spirit is enlightening them to go back to where they left. The West was with the Orthodox Church until all Seven Oecumenical Councils had taken place. Both Orthodox and Catholics are guilty for the Schism, because both lacked love for each other, but at least the Orthodox kept the Faith. The Schism was the work of Satan, because if we had not been separated, the Christian witness to the world would have been titanic, and the devil would not have turned us to all the things of today'.
Words spoken on 24 July/6 August 2003 by Fr Dionyius (Ignat) of Colciu Skete on the Holy Mountain. Aged 94, Fr Dionysius has been an Athonite monk since 1926.

In 2004 the European Union will introduce its first Constitution, which from May 2004 will apply to twenty-five European countries. This has been widely, and quite rightly, criticised, throughout the Orthodox and Non-Orthodox world, for its utter neglect of the Orthodox Christian foundations of Europe. On the eve of 2004, we are therefore proposing an Alternative Constitution for the European Union. It is a Constitution of the Saints, a Constitution based on the only true Unity that Europe, East and West, has ever experienced, Spiritual Unity, Unity in Christ. Unlike the secular, humanistic Constitution to be adopted in 2004, this Constitution is about the Re-rooting and therefore Re-routing of Europe, the Reintegration of Latin Europe into the Church after a thousand years of erring.
For centuries many of the greatest Saints of the Latin Orthodox world have been included in Greek, Arabic, Georgian, Slavic and Romanian Orthodox calendars in the multicultural Orthodox world. Here they have been much venerated, although sometimes on different dates from the Latin West.
Thus St Agnes, St Agrippina, St Alexis, St Anastasia, St Sophia and her three children, St Tatiana of Rome, St Agatha of Catania and St Lucy of Syracuse have always been loved by all Orthodox. St Irenaeus of Lyons, St Julian of Le Mans (Cenomansis, 'Kenomaniysky' in Slavonic), St Cyprian of Carthage, St Hilary of Poitiers ('The Western Athanasius'), St Ambrose of Milan, Blessed Jerome of Stridon and Augustine of Hippo, St Martin of Tours, St John Cassian and St Benedict of Nursia have always been honoured as Church Fathers or writers. St Leo the Great, St Gregory the Great (called 'The Dialogist', to whom is attributed the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts), St Martin I and many other Roman Popes, so many of whom were Greek or Syrian, have always been revered by all Orthodox. Nevertheless, because in the eleventh century the Western lands separated from the Church, falling under the sway of an organisation founded on the ruins of pagan Rome, these Saints represent only the tip of an iceberg of Latin holiness, which remains largely unknown in the rest of the Orthodox world.
The task of restoring all the Saints of the Latin Orthodox world to Orthodox calendars was begun in 1975 for personal use. At that time we also set about including the names of at least some of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Eastern Europe and Russia. They had then still not been canonised, even by the free part of the Russian Church, the Church Outside Russia. Today the situation is quite different within both the Russian and Serbian Churches, now politically free, who have glorified many of their saints within their own homelands. However, the situation with Latin Orthodoxy is still deficient.
In the 1970's, under the direct influence of St John the Wonderworker (at that time also still not canonised for political reasons), in the English-speaking world only the monastery at Platina in California and Fr Mark (Meyrick) in Walsingham in England were issuing calendars, including at least some saints of the Latin Orthodox world. At Platina, under the influence of the ever-memorable Fr Seraphim Rose, certain Latin saints were included in their St Herman calendar. At Walsingham in England the ever-memorable Fr Mark (later David) was also inserting some Latin saints, though nearly all Celts, into the St Seraphim calendar (which is no longer published). Since then an Old Calendarist group in Austin, Texas has published an Eastern-Western combined calendar under Western-rite influence. Nevertheless, there has until now nowhere been any listing of Latin Orthodox Saints with some basic details of their lives.
Thus we are now continuing and expanding on the three editions of our work, 'The Hallowing of England' published in 1994. We are making use of our articles on Orthodox Iberia (published in 'Orthodox England', Vols 2.2 and 2.3 ). And we are also using articles such as 'Towards the Orthodox Calendar' or 'Towards a World Calendar', published in our 1999 book 'The Lighted Way', in order to present on the Internet a listing of the Saints of the Latin Orthodox world.
We use the term 'Latin Orthodox', since the term 'Western Orthodox' is too confined geographically. It also has connotations of 'Western-rite'. Even the term 'Western European Orthodox' is insufficient. We use the term 'Latin Orthodox', because the term includes all those holy ones who were part of the Roman Patriarchate. This includes all those who used Latin as a liturgical language, from the Atlantic Celts to the Scandinavian Norse, from the Germanic peoples to the Latin peoples, from Eastern and Central Europe to North-West Africa.
The latter have been particularly neglected. Only the ever-memorable Bishop Nathanael in his reports in 1953 and 1954 to St John the Wonderworker, wrote to any extent about the saints of Latin (North-West) Africa, as opposed to Greek (North-East) Africa, who were centred around the Patriarchate of Alexandria. We should not forget that the native peoples of North-West Africa, the Berbers and their descendants the Kabyls, spoke Latin, not only before the Muslim invasions, but right up until the twelfth century. The best-known representative of Latin Africa, Blessed Augustine of Hippo, was himself a Berber. Even today members of my family who have lived in North Africa and also Kabyl friends, assure me that one of the most common motifs in Kabyl folk-art is still the cross.
Our task here then is to present a catalogue of Latin Orthodox saints, from North-West Africa to the Canary Islands, from Ireland to the Hebrides, from Scandinavia to Poland, from Czechia to Hungary, from Dalmatia to Istria, from Sicily to Malta and all the lands inbetween, including all the lands which then did not exist and were known by different names from those today.
The sources for the insertion of the Saints of Latin Orthodoxy are varied. They are not of course Protestant, since the concepts of 'saints' and even 'holiness' do not as such exist in Protestantism. Even in Anglicanism, there is no definition of holiness and the individuals whom Anglicans put forward for consideration as 'saints' are generally not saints, but social workers and reformers like Florence Nightingale or Dr Barnardo. There one finds great confusion between the emotional, the psychic and the spiritual.
On the other hand, we freely acknowledge our debt to Roman Catholicism. It is Roman Catholicism which for over 900 years has been the depository for the heritage of the Latin West. First of all there are the fundamental learned hagiographical works of the Bollandists on the primary sources, then the secondary Catholic Encyclopedias in various editions and in various languages. To these can be added the works of authors like Alban Butler and Herbert Thurston and more recently David Farmer (The Oxford Dictionary of Saints) in English. We also have to recall the various editions of 'The Book of Saints', published by the Benedictines of Ramsgate in England, to which we owe a large debt of presentation, having first discovered an old edition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford in 1975. However, the most detailed accessible work is undoubtedly the 13 huge volumes, twelve monthly volumes (Menologia) and an Index Volume, of the Benedictines of Paris published by Letouzey and Ane between 1935 and 1958.
However, the problem with Catholic hagiography has always been its inability to preserve, let alone conserve, the heritage of Latin Orthodoxy intact. Even before the eleventh century, mythical and romanced details were being inserted into the Lives of some Saints. This trend accelerated rapidly during the Middle Ages with the production of such 'novels' as 'The Golden Legend'. The reason for this was simply because so many of the Saints of the early Latin world had lived in pre-literate societies. Lives were therefore invented several hundred years after the deeds described, often for purely financial reasons. A second problem is that the whole of the Orthodox First Millennium of Latin Orthodoxy came to be seen through the ideology of Papism. The Lives of many early Latin Saints, especially those of the Popes if Rome, were distorted by the pietism, ideology and philosophy of the Roman Catholic Middle Ages and Counter-Reformation.
A further layer of difficulties arose during the late twentieth century. At that time, under modernising and Protestantising pressures, the Second Vatican Council proceeded to eliminate a large number of saints from the Roman Catholic calendar for whom fictitious Lives had been written. The error here was to claim that a Saint had never existed, just because the Saint did not have a factual Life. However, this rationalisation went even further, hitting the depths of practical atheism. The Vatican actually even began denying the existence of many Saints, including those outside the Latin world and many universal Saints. This came to a head in 1969 with the official revision of the Roman Catholic calendar.
This approach can be termed the 'ABC approach', since it put into doubt the mere existence of such great Saints as St Alexis, St Barbara and St Catherine. Every Orthodox knows from experience that such saints exist, because they answer our prayers and have been seen by more recent saints, such as St Seraphim of Sarov. To forget your ABC, not to be even at the first letter of the alphabet, is about as near to apostasy as one can come. All we can say is that this trend did not always reach the ordinary Roman Catholic people who remained more faithful to the Orthodox heritage of the Latin world than their elite. With this official apostasy in mind, it seems clear to us that the Orthodox Church alone is now able to step forward to preserve, and also conserve in living form, the heritage of Latin Orthodoxy.
The main criterion for the selection of Latin Saints has to be the date of 1054. Of course, we are sufficiently well-read in history to know that that date has only a symbolic significance, since initially it was the date when the Patriarch of Constantinople was excommunicated by the Pope of Rome for being Orthodox. Nevertheless, though not dogmatic, the date is practical and convenient. Everybody agrees that the Latin West fell away from the Church during the eleventh century, which was not an event, but a process. And everybody would also agree that the first signs of this Schism are clearly visible as early as the end of the eighth century with the Carolingians. However, that Empire failed and the end of the tenth century saw a great many Greek monks and churchmen in Germany, with the Greek Empress Theophano. Again, it is quite clear that there were many contacts between the Orthodox West and the Orthodox East even into the early eleventh century, thus delaying the falling away of the West.
Inevitably, therefore, it is actually impossible to give a precise date for the Western Schism, thus the convenience of the 1054 date. It is notable that in recent years various knowledgeable Orthodox bishops living in Western Europe have given their blessing for the veneration of Latin Saints who lived before the mid-eleventh century. St Genevieve of Paris and St Edward the Martyr are good examples. Moreover, they have given their blessing for the veneration of Saints and the relics of those who lived right up until the first half of the eleventh century - among them, St Olav of Norway or Sts Alphege and Brihtwald of Canterbury. Indeed icons have been painted of these saints, services composed and, in the case of St Olav, in 2003 a church was consecrated.
However, it is also true that we have excluded from the present listing some who lived well before this date of 1054 and included some who lived after. For example, we have naturally excluded from our listing filioquists like 'Blessed' Charlemagne, 'St' Paulinus of Aquilea or 'St' Nicholas I, Pope of Rome. We have had to exclude these and those linked with them, for the simple reason that they were all 'Orthodoxomachists', people who denied and struggled against Orthodox Christianity. On the other hand, we have included in our list those Greeks of Sicily and Calabria who well after the 1054 date continued to live as Orthodox, in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, right up until the 13th century and beyond, until they too, like the 14th century opponent of St Gregory Palamas, Barlaam of Calabria, were infected by the Western disease.
We do not wish in any way to suggest that our listing is definitive. There may be figures whom we have wrongly excluded. We ask the Church to decide over the coming years and will adapt the listing in accord with Church consciousness. Like all our work, we do it not to promote some personal viewpoint, but only because no-one else is doing that which is both necessary and inevitable, as the spiritually sensitive in Western lands return to the Church of Christ.
All the saints included here are presented with four basic facts about them. Firstly each has a name (sometimes in different forms), each has a feast-day or days, each has the date when he/she lived and reposed and finally to each is attributed a modern country or region (or countries), on the territory of which they lived. It will soon become apparent that these saints often lived in more than one country or region, for people of that age travelled far more than we realise. Indeed, readers will soon see that many of the saints of the Latin West, including many Popes of Rome, were Eastern in origin, but travelled and were hallowed in the West. The stream of Orthodox from the East settling in the West only dried up in that fateful period immediately before 1054.
In this context, we understand of course that most modern European countries do not correspond to the countries where most of the Orthodox saints of the Latin world lived. To talk of France instead of Gaul, or England instead of Britain, in the fourth century is of course an anachronism. To speak of Portugal, Belgium and Germany in the seventh century equally absurd. However, we take it as understood that the inclusion of the name of a modern country or region (even when its location is well-known) is merely meant to be an aid to the contemporary reader. By pressing 'Control' and 'F' on a keyboard and typing in a key word, any reader can obtain a listing of, for instance, all the Orthodox saints of Sardinia. The same technique would also allow a reader to establish a listing of the Latin saints for any particular day in the Church's Year.
Such key words of countries and regions include: North Africa (meaning North-West Africa, mainly Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco), the Canaries, Portugal, Spain, Catalonia, France, Auvergne, Monaco, Brittany, the Channel Islands, Britain, Cornwall, England, Wales, Anglesey, the Isle of Man, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Germany, Bavaria, Luxembourg, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Czechia, Pannonia, Hungary, llyria, Dalmatia, Istria, Italy, Campania, Tuscany, Umbria, Lombardy, San Marino, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Malta.
As well as this, the reader will realise that individual cities and monasteries can also be consulted in the same way, for the saints gathered in hallowed centres, forming a Constitution, a Spiritual Map of Europe. Such cities and monastic centres include: Rome, Milan, Ravenna, Aquilea, Benevento, Ancona, Verona, Brescia, Pavia, Spoleto, Todi, Capua, Montecassino, Subiaco, Cordoba, Seville, Toledo, Lerins, Vienne, Lyons, Clermont, Autun, Le Mans, Auxerre, Fontenelle, Laon, Toul, Verdun, Metz, Luxeuil, Agaunum, Einsiedeln, St Gall, Maastricht, Trier, Cologne, Canterbury, Glastonbury, Lindisfarne, Iona, Bangor, Clonard.
We can distinguish three types of Latin saints, categorised by their Lives or absence of them.
Firstly, there are those for whom we have no Life. These include many of the Celtic saints and early martyrs and bishops of Gaul (France) and Italy. Many lived in pre-literate societies, where there was nobody to write their Life. Alternatively, many early martyrs and bishops were honoured as saints, but again nobody was able to write down their Lives, for the witnesses of their martyrdoms were themselves martyred. Often, the reader will find entries like 'Martyrs in Rome', or 'A holy woman in Cornwall' or 'An early Bishop of Verona in Italy'. Often this means that we know no more about that saint than the facts given here. It means that the saint existed, but that the pre-literate societies in which they lived managed only to guard their names, where they lived, the centuries when they lived and their feast-days.
Secondly, there are those saints, similar to the first, but whose Lives were written many hundreds of years after they lived, in the forms of medieval romances. Frankly, most of this hagiography has to be rejected as pure invention - that was the error of medieval Catholicism. This does not mean that we reject the existence of the saint, that the saint's intercession cannot be sought in prayer - that was the error of modern Catholicism. Rather, all this merely means that we reject the efforts of a medieval fiction-writer to bestow on a saint who lived perhaps 700 years before, a Life. Instead, we guard the real facts, however meagre, of the real Life of the real saint.
Finally, there are those saints about whom we have detailed and factual Lives. For example the Acta of many of the early martyrs survive intact and are very edifying and very moving. We can think of the Acts of St Perpetua and Felicity and Companions as an example. Later, many early saints had a disciple who wrote down Lives almost immediately after the repose of their spiritual fathers. St Cuthbert and St Guthlac are good examples from England. Here the reader who wishes to know more is invited to do further research and reading. Unfortunately, in our position as pioneers in poverty, we are unable to do this. Perhaps the new Hagiographical Institute in Moscow will in future years be able to see to the editing and publication of Volumes of Lives of the Latin Orthodox Saints. The recent 2003 Conference in Moscow on the Pre-Schism Western Saints bodes well for this.
At this point, we would like to express our thanks to two Orthodox friends who have recently worked very hard on this project: our webmaster David Davies and our great helper Eadmund Dunstall. Without their help, this project would never have seen the light of day on the Internet. As regards a printed form, we have patiently been awaiting a wealthy sponsor since 1975!
It remains for me to state the obvious. This project is not complete. And it never will be. We have never had the intention of providing a listing of all the saints of the Latin West. They are known to God alone. Here we provide some 10,000 entries, either for individuals or else for groups, more or less numerous, of Saints. But we can hope and pray:
We can hope that at the Last Judgement, through the prayers of all the saints, we shall be forgiven our sins, and then in eternity come to know the saints of God, not 'in a mirror darkly, but face to face'.
And we can pray all the more ardently on All Saints Sunday and ask those who have not been included here for their revelation to us.
Hope and prayer have alone allowed to live to this day.
At the dawn of 2004 and a new Europe, we are putting forward an Alternative Europe and an Alternative Constitution for that Europe. Our Europe is not that of corrupt power elites and their politico-business mafias, but a Europe of Spiritual Unity in the Saints of God. The Constitution of the Saints of Latin Orthodoxy is a Constitution of the grassroots, a Latin Europe in communion with all that is best in herself. And as it is a Europe in communion with her Age of Saints of the First Millennium, it is also therefore a Europe once more in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church, as of old.
The choice before us is now clear:
A Secular Europe, divorced from God, built on the failed thousand-year experiment of the fallen humanist ruins of Catholicism/Protestantism, in communion with the rest of modern secularism.
An Orthodox Europe, partaking of the Holy Trinity, renewed on the holy two-thousand year reality of the risen spiritual heritage of the Saints of Latin Orthodoxy, in communion with the rest of the Orthodox Church.
We long ago made our choice and pray that others will follow us.

Fr Andrew Phillips
St Felix and St Edmund Orthodox Church,

St Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

Τρίτη, 20 Μαρτίου 2012

Saint Bonifatius of Fulda, Germany, Martyr († 754)

Saint Boniface (Latin: Bonifacius) (c. 680 – 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 755, 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 Orthodox Patriarchate of Rome and the Carolingian family." 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) as a missionary; he is regarded as a unifier of Europe, and he is seen (mainly by Catholics) as a German national figure.

Early life and first mission to Frisia

The earliest Bonifacian vita does not mention his place of birth but says that at an early age he attended a monastery ruled by abbot Wulfhard in escancastre, or Examchester, which seems to denote Exeter, and may have been one of many monasteriola built by local landowners and churchmen; nothing else is known of it outside the Bonifacian vitae. Later tradition places his birth at Crediton, but the earliest mention of Crediton in connection to Boniface is from the early fourteenth century,[6] in John Grandisson's Legenda Sanctorum: The Proper Lessons for Saints' Days according to the use of Exeter.

According to the vitae, Winfrid was of a respected and prosperous family. Against his father's wishes he devoted himself at an early age to the monastic life. He received further theological training in the Benedictine monastery and minster of Nhutscelle (Nursling),[8] not far from Winchester, which under the direction of abbot Winbert had grown into an industrious centre of learning in the tradition of Aldhelm. Winfrid taught in the abbey school and at the age of 30 became a priest; in this time, he wrote a Latin grammar, the Ars Grammatica, besides a treatise on verse and some Aldhelm-inspired riddles.While little is known about Nursling outside of Boniface's vitae, it seems clear that the library there was significant. In order to supply Boniface with the materials he needed, it would have contained works by Donatus, Priscian, Isidore, and many others.Around 716, when his abbot Wynberth of Nursling died, he was invited (or expected) to assume his position — it is possible that they were related, and the practice of hereditary right in early Anglo-Saxon would affirm this. Winfrid, however, declined the position and in 716 set out on a missionary expedition to Frisia.

Boniface first left for the continent in 716. He traveled to Utrecht, where Willibrord, the "Apostle of the Frisians," had been working since the 690s. He spent a year with Willibrord, preaching in the countryside, but their efforts were frustrated by the war then being carried on between Charles Martel and Radbod, king of the Frisians. Willibrord fled to the abbey he had founded in Echternach (in modern-day Luxemburg) while Boniface returned to Nursling.

Boniface returned to the continent the next year, and this time went straight to Rome, where Pope Gregory II renamed him "Boniface", for the (legendary) fourth-century martyr Boniface of Tarsus, and appointed him missionary bishop for Germania --he became a bishop without a diocese for an area that lacked any church organization. He would never return to England, though he remained in correspondence with his countrymen and kinfolk throughout his life.

According to the vitae, in 723, Boniface felled the Donar Oak, Latinized by Willibald as "Jupiter's oak," near the present-day town of Fritzlar in northern Hesse. Boniface called upon the god to strike him down if he cut the holy tree. According to his early biographer Willibald, Boniface started to chop the oak down, when suddenly a great wind, as if by miracle, blew the ancient oak over. When the god did not strike him down, the people were amazed and converted to Christianity. He built a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter from its wood at the site where today stands the cathedral of Fritzlar. Later he established the first diocese in Germany north of the old Roman Limes at the Frankish fortified settlement of Büraburg, on a prominent hill facing the town across the Eder River.

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 paganism and its ritual sites may have benefited the Franks in their campaign against the Saxons.

In 732, Boniface traveled again to Rome to report, and Pope Gregory II 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,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.

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. In Frankish, Hessian, and Thuringian territory, he established the dioceses of Würzburg, and Erfurt. By appointing his own followers as bishops, he was able to retain some independence from the Carolingians, who most likely were content to give him leeway as long as Christianity was imposed on the Saxons and other Germanic tribes.

Last mission to Frisia

According to the "vitae", Boniface had never relinquished his hope of converting the Frisians, and in 754 he set out with a 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 group of armed inhabitants appeared who slew the aged archbishop. The vitae mention that Boniface persuaded his (armed) comrades to lay down their arms: "Cease fighting. Lay down your arms, for we are told in Scripture not to render evil for good but to overcome evil by good."

Having killed Boniface and his company, the Frisian bandits ransacked their possessions and got drunk on the wine remaining among the provisions, and then started killing each other, arguing over the division of the booty. The surviving "freebooters" found that the company's luggage did not contain the riches they had hoped for: "they broke open the chests containing the books and found, to their dismay, that they held manuscripts instead of gold vessels, pages of sacred texts instead of silver plates."They attempted to destroy these books, the earliest vita already says, and this account underlies the status of the Ragyndrudis Codex, now held as a Bonifacian relic in Fulda, and supposedly one of three books found on the field by the Christians who inspected it afterward. Of those three books, the Ragyndrudis Codex shows incisions that could have been made by sword or axe; its story appears confirmed in the Utrecht hagiography, the Vita altera, which reports that an eye-witness saw that the saint at the moment of death held up a gospel as spiritual protection.The story was later repeated by Otloh's vita; at that time, the Ragyndrudis Codex seems to have been firmly connected to the martyrdom.

His remains were eventually buried in the abbey of Fulda after resting for some time in Utrecht, and they are entombed within a shrine beneath the high altar of Fulda Cathedral, previously the abbey church.

Saint Boniface's feast day is celebrated on 5 June in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Saint Leander, Bishop of Seville and Apostle of Spain († 600)


Saint Leander was born to an aristocratic Roman family living in Spain: his father Severian was Duke of Cartagena.

Saint Leander embraced monastic life as a young man in Seville, capital of the Visigoths, who had embraced Arianism and caused the Arian heresy to dominate throughout Spain.

Leander became a leading figure in the struggle to restore his land to Orthodoxy, founding a school in Seville to promote the Orthodox faith. In 583 he travelled to Constantinople to seek the Emperor's support for the Spanish Orthodox; while there he met St Gregory the Great (the future Pope of Rome), with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. On his return to Spain, Leander was made Bishop of Seville.

One of the holy bishop's converts was Hermengild, one of the sons of the Arian king Leovigild. When Hermengild rose up against his father in the name of Orthodoxy, Leovigild launched a violent persecution of the Orthodox throughout his kingdom. (Leovigild had his son imprisoned, then executed on Pascha Day of 586.) By God's grace, at the very height of the persecution Leovigild fell mortally ill, repented, and embraced the true Faith; at his urging his son and successor Recared converted to Orthodoxy and convened the Third Council of Toledo in 589, at which he proclaimed that the Gothic and Suevic peoples were returning to the unity of the One Church.

Saint Leander presided at the Council, and devoted the rest of his life to educating the (mostly) newly-Orthodox people of Spain in the Faith.

It was he who established the early form of the Mozarabic Liturgy.

He reposed in peace on March 13, 600. (He is venerated on this day because his name was incorrectly placed on February 27 in the Roman Martyrology.