Saint Boniface (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Boniface left England to assist in the conversion of pagan Germany. He brought Christianity to many areas and in others set the Church on a new and sounder basis, earning the title “the Apostle of Germany.”
The original name of Saint Boniface was Wynfrith or Wynfrid. He was born around 675 and was sent to the monastery at Exeter to be reared as a monk. In later years, he would claim to be of humble birth, but it seems likely that this claim was only a conventional profession of humility. Several of his relatives appear to have had noble rank. There is a tradition that he was born at Crediton, and though it cannot be traced further back than the fourteenth century, Crediton is near enough to Exeter for the story to be plausible.
Exeter does not seem to have satisfied Wynfrith, and perhaps in the 690’s he transferred to the monastery at Nursling, near Southampton, also a Benedictine house and also in the kingdom of Wessex, but possibly with better scholarly endowments. Wynfrith gained a reputation for his learning and piety (though in the unchristianized England of that time there may have been few competitors). He compiled England’s first Latin grammar; it is interesting to note, though, that according to The Life of Saint Boniface, written by the priest Willibald, when Wynfrith was first introduced to Pope Gregory II in 719, he begged to make his profession of...
(The entire section is 2143 words.)
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