Winfrid, Wynfrith, Wynfryth, Apostle of Germany
Date of Birth:
673 (some say between 672 to 680)
Date of Death:
June 5, 754
He reformed and converted many pagans to Christianity.
Saint Boniface was an English missionary devoted to the conversion of pagan Germany.
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 papacy 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.