Monday, May 14, 2018
St. Boniface of Tarsus

Simple (1955 Calendar): May 14

Born a pagan in the 3rd century, St. Boniface of Tarsus was one of Aglaida's slaves. Both were pagans and lived in debauchery together and some legends say they were lovers.

Yet by the grace of God, they tired of their sinful way of life and both discovered Christianity as a meaningful way. Aglaida decided to send him on an errand to collect holy relics. Finding upon arrival at Tarsus that the authorities were torturing Christians, he openly declared himself to be a Christian. For this, he was executed with savage cruelty in 307 AD.  Providentially, his own body constituted the relics that were brought back to Aglaida, who in turn became a Christian.

He should not be confused with the more commonly venerated St. Boniface of Germany.

The Traditional Reading at Matins:

Boniface was a citizen of Rome, and had held criminal intercourse with a rich lady, by name Aglae. He was filled with such shame on account of this immoral conduct, that by way of penance he devoted himself to searching out and burying the bodies of martyrs. In one of his travels he left his companions; and finding, on arriving at Tarsus, that many were being put to divers tortures for the Christian faith, he approached them, kissed their chains and did all in his power to urge them to bear patiently the short labour of sufferings which were to be followed by eternal rest. For this he was seized, and his flesh was torn by iron hooks. Sharp reeds were also thrust up his finger-nails, and melted lead was poured into his mouth. His only exclamation, in the midst of these tortures, was: ' I give thee thanks, Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God!' He was then put, head foremost, into a cauldron of boiling pitch; and when he was taken out, and found to be unhurt, the judge, in a fit of anger, ordered him to be beheaded. During his execution a great earthquake was felt; whereupon many of the pagans were converted to the faith of Christ our Lord. On the day following, his companions, who were in search of him, were told that he had suffered martyrdom. They bought his body for five hundred pieces of silver; and having embalmed and shrouded it, they had it taken to Rome. All this was made known by an angel to Aglae, who had also devoted herself to penance and good works. She, therefore, went to meet the martyr's relics. She built a church, which was named after the Saint, and in which he was buried on the Nones of June (June 5). The martyr’s soul passed into heaven on the day before the Ides of May (May 14) at Tarsus, a city of Cilicia, under the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian.


O Almighty God, may the prayers of Your blessed martyr Boniface aid us as we celebrate his feast today. Through Our Lord . . .

Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

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