Free Online Bible Library | Boniface of Querfurt

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Boniface of Querfurt

970?-1009. Hagiographer, missionary, and martyr. Born in Saxony of influential parents, Boniface (otherwise known as Bruno) became canon of Magdeburg at an early age. He was a close friend of Emperor Otto III, whom he accompanied to Rome in 996. There he entered a Benedictine abbey and took for himself the religious name of Boniface. There also, after the martyrdom in 997 of Adalbert,* bishop of Prague, at the hands of the heathen Russians, he planned further missionary activity in Russia. Following much frustration due to war, he visited Kiev and then worked among the pagan tribesmen in the area north of the Black Sea, whom he Christianized at least nominally. Later he visited Poland and attempted unsuccessfully to act as peacemaker in the war between the Poles and Germans. Determined to continue his missionary work he then, with eighteen other missionaries, crossed the border into Russia (Lithuania) where the whole party was killed by the heathens. Boniface wrote several lives of Christian missionaries in eastern Europe, notably that of Adalbert, whose pioneering work he continued.

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