Bonifacius, Saint and Martyr

Bonifacius, Saint And Martyr, was the steward of a certain rich and beautiful woman of Rome, named Aglae, with whom he for many years carried on a criminal commerce, at the same time indulging in drunkenness and other vices. Aglae at length, touched with remorse, requested him to repair to the East, where many martyrs about that time had yielded their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ, and bring back with him some of the relics of these holy men. that she might build over them an oratory and honor them. This was about the year 307 or 309 (290, according to Ruinart), when the Western Church enjoyed peace; but in the East the persecution begun by Diocletian, and carried on by Galerius Maximianus and Maximinus Daia, was raging. Arrived at Tarsus, in Cilicia, Bonifacius went to the place of torture, where more than twenty martyrs were undergoing torment. He approached and embraced them, and implored them to pray for him. Simplicius, the judge, enraged at this, and at his boldly declaring himself to be a believer, instantly ordered that sharp-pointed reeds should be thrust under his nails and melted lead poured into his mouth. The next day, after having been thrown into a caldron of boiling pitch, he was beheaded. His body was purchased by his companions and carried back to Rome, where a chapel was built by the penitent Aglae over his remains, near which she was buried. Butler says their bodies were found in 1603. His life is given in the Acta Sanctorum (May, 3, 281-283). In the Greek Church he is commemorated Dec. 19 (Cal. Byzant.). He was formerly commemorated in the Roman Church on June 5, the supposed day of his burial at Rome (Mart. Rom. Vet.); but in more recent martyrologies this Bonifacius is commemorated on May 14; the supposed day of his death. See Butler, May 14; Baillet, May 14, Ruinart, Acta Sanctorum, p. 284.

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