A Neapolitan who succeeded Deusdedit after a vacancy of more than a year; consecrated 23 December, 619; d. 25 October, 625. Before his consecration Italy was disturbed by the rebellion of the eunuch Eleutherius, Exarch of Ravenna. The patrician pretender advanced towards Rome, but before before he could reach the city, he was slain by his own troops. The "Liber Pontificalis" records that Boniface made certain enactments relative to the rights of sanctuary, and that he ordered the ecclesiastical notaries to obey the laws of the empire on the subject of wills. He also prescribed that acolytes should not presume to translate the relics of martyrs, and that, in the Lateran Basilica, they should not take the place of deacons in administering baptism. Boniface completed and consecrated the cemetery of St. Nicomedes on the Via Nomentana. >From the Venerable Bede we learn of the pope's affectionate concern for the English Church. The "letters of exhortation" which he is said to have addressed to Mellitus, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to Justus, Bishop of Rochester, are no longer extant, but certain other letters of his have been preserved. One is written to Justus, after he had succeeded Mellitus as Archbishop of Canterbury (624), conferring the pallium upon him and directing him to "ordain bishops as occasion should require". According to Bede, Pope Boniface also sent letters to Edwin, King of Northumbria (625), urging him to embrace the Christian Faith, and to the Christian Princess Ethelberga, Edwin's spouse, exhorting her to use her best endeavours for the conversion of her consort (Bede, H. E., II, vii, viii, x, xi). In the "Liber Pontificalis" Boniface is described as "the mildest of men", whose chief distinction was his great love for the clergy. He was buried in St. Peter's, 25 October, 625. His epitaph is found in Duchesne.
Liber Pontificalis (ed. DUCHESNE), I, 321-322; JAFFÉ, Regesta RR. PP. (2nd ed.), I, 222; Letters in MANSI, X, 547-554, and in BEDE, Hist. Eccles. Gent. Angl.; MANN, Lives of the Popes, etc., I, 294-303; GASQUET, A Short History of the Catholic Church in England, 19; HUNT, A History of the English Church, etc., 49, 56, 58; GREGOROVIUS, II, 113; LANGEN, 506; JUNGMANN, Dissertationes, II, 389.
Transcribed by WGKofron
In memory of Fr. John Hilkert, Akron, Ohio
Fidelis servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam