Saturday, June 5, 2010




VATICAN CITY, 4 JUN 2010 (VIS) - This morning during his flight to Cyprus the Holy Father responded to a number of questions put to him by the journalists accompanying him on the papal plane.
The first question was put to the Holy Father on behalf of all the journalists present by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. Referring to the murder in Turkey yesterday of Bishop Luigi Padovese, he asked: "How did you receive this news and how are you experiencing the beginning of your trip to Cyprus in this atmosphere?"
"Naturally", the Pope replied, "I am profoundly saddened by the death of Bishop Padovese, who also contributed to the preparation of the Synod [for the Middle East] where his collaboration would have been an important element. We commend his soul to the goodness of the Lord. Nonetheless, this shadow has nothing to do with the themes and the reality of this trip, because we must not attribute this event to Turkey or to the Turks. We have little information, though it was certainly not a political or religious murder, but a personal matter. We still await complete explanations, but we do not now wish to mix this tragic situation with dialogue with Islam and with all the problems of our trip. It is a separate case which saddens us but which should not in any way cast a shadow over dialogue, in all senses, which will be the theme and the goal of this journey".
The Pope was then asked how he felt his visit could help to resolve the distance between the Greek and Turkish sides of the island, and to proceed towards a solution of peaceful coexistence while respecting religious freedom and the spiritual and cultural heritage of the various communities.
"This trip to Cyprus", the Holy Father explained, "is in many ways a continuation of the trip I made last year to the Holy Land, and of my visit to Malta earlier this year. ... I am not coming with a political message, but a religious message, which I hope will prepare peoples hearts to find an opening for peace".
Another journalist noted how the Pope was visiting the Middle East "a few days after the Israeli attack on a flotilla of ships near Gaza, bringing further tensions to an already-troubled peace process. How do you feel the Holy See can help to overcome this difficult moment in the Middle East?"
"I would say that we principally contribute in a religious way", Benedict XVI explained in his reply. "We can also be helpful with political and strategic advice, but the Vatican's essential work is always religious. ... After all the violence we must not lose patience, not lose courage, not lose the generosity to start again, ... in the certainty that we can progress, that we can achieve peace, that not violence, but patience and goodness, is the solution. Creating these conditions is, I feel, the principle work the Vatican, its offices and the Pope can perform".
Answering a question on the subject of ecumenism, and specifically on dialogue with the Orthodox which has made much recent progress in the cultural spiritual and social fields, the Holy Father emphasised "the great progress achieved in our common witness to Christian values in the secularised world. ... Of course, there are many theological problems, but here too there are strong elements of unity". In this context, the Pope specifically noted "three elements that bind us and bring us increasingly closer together. Firstly, Scripture. ... Secondly, what we could call tradition, which interprets and opens the door to Scripture. ... The third point is the so-called 'regula fidei'; in other words, the confession of the faith as elaborated in the ancient Councils, which is the summa of Scripture. ... Of course", he went on, "it is not theological discussion that of itself creates unity. It is an important element, but all Christian life, knowing one another, the experience of brotherhood, learning despite the experiences of the past, this shared fraternity, are processes that also require great patience. And I believe we are learning patience".
The last question put to the Holy Father was: "What are your main expectations and hopes for the Middle East Synod, for the Christian communities and for followers of other faiths in that region?""The first important point", said the Pope, "is that bishops and heads of Churches will come together" in "a tangible communion of dialogue and life. Secondly, the visibility of these Churches ... will help us to be neighbours, to increase our mutual knowledge, to learn from and help one another, and therefore also to help the Christians of the Middle East not to lose hope, to remain even if their situation can be difficult. Thus, and this is the third point, in their dialogue between one another they open also to dialogue with other Christians (Orthodox, Armenians, etc.) attaining increased Christian responsibility and a common capacity for dialogue with our Muslim brothers, who remain brothers despite our differences".PV-CYPRUS/ VIS 20100605 (860)
Papal Images

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS REPORT) - Having spent the night at the apostolic nunciature in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, where he arrived from Paphos last night, this morning the Holy Father went to the presidential palace in Nicosia to pay a courtesy visit to Demetris Christofias, president of the Republic of Cyprus. Following his encounter with the president, the Pope met with civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.
Benedict XVI was received outside the palace by President Christofias and his wife. He then left a wreath at the statue of Makarios III (1913-1977), archbishop of the Cypriot Orthodox Church and the first president of the Republic of Cyprus, one of the most important figures in the country's recent history.
Following a private encounter with the president and his family, the Pope met with the civil authorities and the diplomatic corps in the gardens of the presidential palace, where he pronounced an address.
"I have", he said, "just laid a wreath at the memorial of the late Archbishop Makarios, the first president of the Republic of Cyprus. Like him, each of you in your lives of public service must be committed to serving the good of others in society, whether at the local, national or international level. This is a noble vocation which the Church esteems".
"You as public servants know the importance of truth, integrity and respect in your relationships with others", he told his audience. "Personal relationships are often the first steps towards building trust and - in due course - solid bonds of friendship between individuals, peoples and nations. ... In countries with delicate political situations, such honest and open personal relationships can be the beginning of a much greater good for entire societies and peoples".
"The ancient Greek philosophers also teach us that the common good is served precisely by the influence of people endowed with clear moral insight and courage. ... Moral rectitude and impartial respect for others and their well-being are essential to the good of any society since they establish a climate of trust in which all human interactions, whether religious, or economic, social and cultural, or civil and political, acquire strength and substance".
Benedict XVI then went on to suggest three practical ways "to respect and promote moral truth in the world of politics and diplomacy on the national and international levels".
"Firstly, promoting moral truth means acting responsibly on the basis of factual knowledge. ... When parties rise above their own particular view of events, they acquire an objective and comprehensive vision. Those who are called to resolve such disputes are able to make just decisions and promote genuine reconciliation when they grasp and acknowledge the full truth of a specific question.
"A second way", he added, "consists in deconstructing political ideologies which would supplant the truth. The tragic experiences of the twentieth century have laid bare the inhumanity which follows from the suppression of truth and human dignity. ... In this sense, speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, I called attention to attempts in some quarters to reinterpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by giving satisfaction to particular interests which would compromise the Declaration's inner unity and move away from its original intent".
"Thirdly, promoting moral truth in public life calls for a constant effort to base positive law upon the ethical principles of natural law. An appeal to the latter was once considered self-evident, but the tide of positivism in contemporary legal theory requires the restatement of this important axiom. Individuals, communities and States, without guidance from objectively moral truths, would become selfish and unscrupulous and the world a more dangerous place to live"
"When the policies we support are enacted in harmony with the natural law proper to our common humanity, then our actions become more sound and conducive to an environment of understanding, justice and peace", the Pope concluded.
The ceremony over, the Holy Father travelled five kilometres by car to St. Maron primary school to meet with the Catholic community of Cyprus.
PV-CYPRUS/ VIS 20100605 (680)

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At 10.45 a.m. today, the Holy Father met with the Catholic community of Cyprus, which is some 25,000 strong, on the sports field of St. Maron primary school in the island's capital city of Nicosia.
"As the Successor of Peter, I stand among you today to offer you the assurance of my support, my affectionate prayers and my encouragement".
"You", Benedict XVI told the faithful, "are called to live your faith in the world by adding your voices and actions to the promotion of the Gospel values handed down to you by generations of Cypriot Christians. These values, deeply embedded in your own culture as well as in the patrimony of the universal Church, should continue to inspire your efforts to promote peace, justice and respect for human life and the dignity of your fellow citizens. In this way, your fidelity to the Gospel will surely benefit all Cypriot society".
He also highlighted the importance of "the search for greater unity in charity with other Christians and dialogue with those who are not Christians. ... Given your circumstances, you are able to make your personal contribution to the goal of greater Christian unity in your daily lives. Let me encourage you to do so, confident that the Spirit of the Lord, Who prayed that His followers might be one, will accompany you in this important task.
"With regard to inter-religious dialogue", he added, "much still needs to be done throughout the world. This is another area where Catholics in Cyprus often live in circumstances which afford them opportunities for right and prudent action. Only by patient work can mutual trust be built, the burden of history overcome, and the political and cultural differences between peoples become a motive to work for deeper understanding. I urge you to help create such mutual trust between Christians and non-Christians as a basis for building lasting peace and harmony between peoples of different religions, political regions and cultural backgrounds".
"I encourage you to pray for and to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life. As this Year for Priests draws to a close, the Church has gained a renewed awareness of the need for good, holy and well-formed priests. She needs men and women religious completely committed to Christ and to the spread of God's reign on earth".
The Holy Father then turned to address those who work in the island's Catholic schools, especially teachers. "Your work", he said, "is part of a long and esteemed tradition of the Catholic Church in Cyprus. Continue patiently to serve the good of the whole community by striving for educational excellence. May the Lord bless you abundantly in the sacred trust which is the formation of almighty God's most precious gift to us - our children".
The Holy Father concluded with a greeting to the young people present. "Be strong in your faith, joyful in God's service and generous with your time and talents! Help to build a better future for the Church and for your country in placing the good of others before your own".
At the end of the event, and before moving on the Orthodox archbishopric to meet with His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, the Pope watched a show and listened to songs performed by some of the children.

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Shortly after midday today Benedict XVI arrived at the Orthodox archbishopric in Nicosia to pay a courtesy visit to His Beatitude Chrysostomos II, archbishop of New Justiniana and All Cyprus.
The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has always remained independent, playing an important role in the island's political life. Its activity in the war of independence against the Turks cost it dear as, in 1825, a large part of the Cypriot clergy, including the entire hierarchy, were massacred for their suspected support for the Greek revolution. During the period of British domination (1878-1958), the Cypriot Church was actively committed to the struggle for independence, which the island achieved in 1960 when Archbishop Makarios was elected as president of the fledgling republic.
Following the Turkish invasion of 1974, more than 170,000 Cypriot citizens (almost a third of the then population) became refugees in their own homeland. More than five hundred churches, chapels and monasteries (Catholic, Maronite, Armenian and Orthodox) were occupied or destroyed. Since 1974, Turkey has transferred some 160,000 colonists to northern Cyprus.
The Orthodox Church of Cyprus has been a member of the World Council of Churches since 1948 and participates actively in various inter-confessional and inter-religious meetings in the Middle East and Europe. The Middle East Council of Churches has its headquarters in Cyprus.
On his arrival at the archbishopric, Benedict XVI was received by His Beatitude Chrysostomos II and visited the monument to Archbishop Makarios and the cathedral. He then pronounced an address which he began by recalling Archbishop Chrysostomos' 2007 visit to Rome, during which a Joint Declaration was published testifying to the fraternal relations between the Catholic Church and the Cypriot Orthodox Church.
The Holy Father also expressed his gratitude for the hospitality and support which the Church of Cyprus offered to the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue when it met last year in Paphos.
"May the Holy Spirit guide and confirm this great ecclesial undertaking, which aims at restoring full and visible communion between the Churches of East and West, a communion to be lived in fidelity to the Gospel and the apostolic tradition, esteem for the legitimate traditions of East and West, and openness to the diversity of gifts by which the Spirit builds up the Church in unity, holiness and peace", he said.
The Pope also thanked the Cypriot Orthodox Church for their aid to victims of the earthquake that struck the Italian city of L'Aquila last year. Then, in a "spirit of fraternity and communion", he expressed the hope "that all the inhabitants of Cyprus, with God's help, will find the wisdom and strength needed to work together for a just settlement of issues remaining to be resolved, to strive for peace and reconciliation, and to build for future generations a society distinguished by respect for the rights of all, including the inalienable rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of worship.
"Cyprus", he added, "is traditionally considered part of the Holy Land, and the situation of continuing conflict in the Middle East must be a source of concern to all Christ's followers. No one can remain indifferent to the need to support in every way possible the Christians of that troubled region, so that its ancient Churches can live in peace and flourish. The Christian communities of Cyprus can find a most fruitful area for ecumenical co-operation in praying and working together for peace, reconciliation and stability in the lands blessed by the earthly presence of the Prince of Peace".
Having completed his remarks, the Holy Father visited the archbishopric's museum of icons, then had lunch with Archbishop Chrysostomos.

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., has sent the following English-language telegram of condolence to Archbishop Antonio Lucibello, apostolic nuncio to Turkey, for the death of Bishop Luigi Padovese O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Anatolia and president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference. Bishop Padovese was murdered in the Turkish city of Iskanderun on Thursday.
"Deeply saddened by the murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar of Anatolia, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful of the Church in Turkey. He joins all of you in commending the noble soul of this beloved pastor to the infinite mercy of God our Father and in giving thanks for the selfless witness to the Gospel and resolute commitment to dialogue and reconciliation which characterized his priestly life and episcopal ministry. United with all who mourn Bishop Padovese in the hope which draws its certainty from the resurrection, His Holiness cordially imparts his apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ".TGR/ VIS 20100605 (210)

VATICAN CITY, 5 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:
- Appointed Bishop Julio Hernando Garcia Pelaez, auxiliary of Cali, Colombia, as bishop of Istmina - Tado (area 22,240, population 214,500, Catholics 201,000, priests 68, religious 109), Colombia. He succeeds Bishop Alonso Llano Ruiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
- Appointed Fr. Robert Dodaro O.S.A., director of the "Augustinianum" Patristic Institute in Rome, as a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Agenzia Fides REPORT – A prison ministry worker and lay missionary, Pedro Fukuyei Yamaguchi Ferreira of the Diocese of San Gabriel da Cachoeira, in the Amazon (Brazil), was found dead after he was reported missing the afternoon of June 1. About 100 soldiers of the Army and Navy were involved in the search for the missionary. It seems that he was dragged by a strong current while swimming in the river Rio Negro, in the region of San Gabriel. According to note sent by Fides, the missionary, age 27, had been three months on a mission in the Amazon, as a member of the Missionary Project South 1 – North 1 of the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB). He previously worked for three years as a volunteer lawyer in Prison Ministry in the Archdiocese of São Paulo. The body of the young missionary was found in the river that borders San Gabriel da Cachoeira, 858 km from Manaus. According to the Fire Department, the boy had been dragged for about 40 km.


Catholic Herald report: The Vatican is lending four of Raphael’s Sistine Chapel tapestries to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to coincide with the papal visit in September.

Considered to be the most important tapestries of the Renaissance, four tapestries from the set of 10 will travel outside the Vatican for the first time to be exhibited alongside Raphael’s original designs at the V&A. The life-size cartoons for the tapestries were bought by Charles I in 1623 and are the only Raphael full cycle of High Renaissance painting not in Italy. They have been on loan to the V&A since the reign of Queen Victoria and are considered too fragile to move.
The loan of the tapestries is unprecedented. They have not left the Vatican since they were brought there almost 500 years ago.
Mark Evans, the V&A’s senior curator of paintings, said the exhibition presented a unique opportunity. “I never thought this would happen. We had to wait for 500 years and I think it will be worthwhile. This will never happen again,” he said.
“The tapestries and the cartoons have had an independent life from almost the beginning. Seeing them side by side I hope will make an impact on the understanding of the cartoons and the tapestries.”
The tapestries cost more to produce than Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and were among the most expensive works of art to be produced at the time. In February the Vatican Museums contacted the V&A about possibly lending the tapestries to correspond with Pope Benedict’s state visit to Britain. Commissioned in 1515, Pope Leo X paid around 15,000 ducats to have the tapestries made, whereas Michelangelo was paid 5,000 ducats for the four years he spent painting the Last Judgment on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.
Both the cartoons and the tapestries will hang alongside each other for the first time since they were made in the Flanders workshops. Raphael and his assistants would have prepared the cartoons for the tapestries in his Roman workshops from where they were sent to Flanders where the Sistine tapestries were made in the workshops of the renowned weaver Pieter van Aelst.
The weavers sent the finished tapestries back to Rome without the preparatory cartoons. Mr Evans said the designs at the V&A were the first and only sets of tapestry cartoons made by Raphael. Unlike the cartoons for frescoes which were used by the painter himself, the cartoons for tapestries would be used by weavers in faraway Flanders. The cartoons are therefore in colour and far more vivid.
The four tapestries on loan to the V&A are The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Christ’s Charge to Peter, The Healing of the Lame Man and The Sacrifice at Lystra.
Cambridge Art Historian Prof Paul Joannides said that the tapestries were visually extremely impressive, woven with gold and silver. He said they were perhaps the most important tapestries of the Renaissance. Raphael, he said, treated the tapestries as paintings and not as tapestries. He worked with depth and perspective, placing scenes in the background and creating visual space in the tapestries. The traditional way of tapestry-making treated space flatly.
“Raphael changes the way tapestry is made. He changes the aesthetic of tapestry,” he said.
While the Raphael cartoons were subsequently sent around the weavers’ workshops and used to make other sets of tapestries for kings and queens of Europe including Henry VIII, Prof Joannides said the Vatican’s originals were of far higher quality than subsequent sets of tapestries.
The tapestries and cartoons will be on display for six weeks, beginning on September 8 and running to October 17 in honour of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit. Tickets will be free but there will be time limits on viewings.


Asia News report: Municipal authorities want to prevent Christians from conducting any public activity. After unsuccessfully seeking remedy with a number of Indonesian agencies, Yasmin Church members are launching an appeal to the United Nations for discrimination and persecution.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Members of the Indonesian Christian Church (aka Yasmin Church, Gereja Kristen Indonesia in Indonesian) are preparing to appeal to the United Nations against a decision by the authorities in the West Java City of Bogor to close down their church. Municipal authorities have been trying to prevent Christians from expressing their faith publicly in response to Muslim extremists. Christians have argued instead that they have a right to profess their faith wherever they live, even if it means praying in the streets.

The decision was taken yesterday. Revs Ujang Tanusaputra and Diah Renata Anggraeni, leaders of the Yasmin Church, reiterated in a press conference that Bogor chief had issued a valid building permit (MB) in 2006 authorising the GKI to build a church with associated facilities. However, Bogor municipal authorities later began discriminating them and on 12 March issued an order to stop all Church activity.
“On 11 and 15 April and 9 and 24 May, they forced our parishioners to hold our weekly religious service outside,” Rev Tanusaputra. “We have decided to appeal to the United Nations after we failed to elicit action from the appropriate Indonesian agencies.”
Before that, Bogor authorities suspended the building permit, which the GKI challenged before a court. The Administrative Tribunal in Bandung ruled that the suspension was illegal. In March 2010, the Church applied again to resume construction, said Thomas Wadudara in a statement.
Rini, a member of the Church, told AsiaNews, “this is a clear example of grave discrimination against a minority group.”
Several human rights groups back the ruling. Alexander Paulus, of the Human Rights Working Group, said, “Bogor officials not only destroyed legal property of the Church in the compound and inside the building but they also disrupted the site where church goers hold their services in order to prevent them from fulfilling their religious beliefs.”
The church under construction is located in the so-called Yasmin Garden complex, an area of 1,700 m2 where Christians have built other buildings, at least until the suspension order of 12 March.
Bogor City officials turned against the Church after a series of protests by Muslim extremist groups, like the Hisbut Tahrir Indonesian and the Islamic Defender Front, who accuse the Christians of proselytising, and are opposed to any construction or public display of the Christian faith.
At the end of April, thousands of extremists attacked another Christian complex, setting it on fire. They are opposed to the construction of a Christian educational centre, accusing those behind the project of actually planning to build a place of prayer.


Cath News report: Australian Catholic University's (ACU) Brisbane indigenous unit and Mt St Michael's (MSM) College, Ashgrove, have won the Queensland Premier's 2010 Reconciliation Award.

The Catholic Leader reports that Premier Anna Bligh, at the award ceremony in Brisbane on May 27, said the award winners were paving the way for reconciliation in Queensland.
ACU's Weemala Indigenous Higher Education Unit began working with the school in 2007, when college students and ACU indigenous students met to discuss social justice issues.
Weemala academic coordinator Dean Duncan said the partnership has continued to strengthen, with students meeting regularly to share stories, ask questions and support each other.
"Meeting in an informal setting has provided a space for the students to find common ground and increase their understanding of each other's cultures," he said.
"Indigenous people have a desire to share their culture and stories with the wider community, and especially with young people. If we can develop strong partnerships with schools and colleges, we can ensure young people are equipped with an understanding of indigenous issues, so they can drive future change.
"This partnership with Mt St Michael's College has given us the opportunity to understand what the younger Australian generation think in terms of indigenous culture, issues and history."
The 2010 reconciliation award winners share $25,000 in prize money.


All Africa report: Christians in Nigeria have been enjoined to emulate the qualities of Holy Spirit and apply them to their daily living in order to unify the country and make it one of the leading examples of nations of the world.

Parish Priest of Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church, Rumuomasi Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Rev. Father Christopher Amaubosi, gave the advice when the church celebrated its Pentecost day at the church premises, recently.
The Mater Misericordiae Catholic Church is run by Holy Ghost Reverend Fathers. It was a period when the fathers usually celebrate the 50th day of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ on Easter day to heaven.Amaubosi said Nigerians should always be their brothers' keeper by imbibing the Holy Spirit virtues in their routine activities, saying that if the light of the Holy Spirit is in them the country will be a better place to live in.
He also tasked Christians particularly Catholics to pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to move things around in the country and described the Pentecost day as a significant day when God turned things around for mankind.
At the special service celebrated on Sunday, the parishioners marked the day with fun fair; as cultural dances took available spaces in the church premises to display their traditional skills in dancing.
According to the assistant parish priest of the church, Rev. Father Aloh Uchechukwu, the day was a special for Holy Ghost Fathers all over the world because it makes them remember their vows and commitment to God when He sent His Spirit to dwell among men, saying that the unity of that day which saw people interpreting and understanding the languages of other people they had not met before shows that mankind is one and therefore should worship God according to the dictate of the Holy Spirit.
Many prominent Nigerians graced the occasion and also celebrated the day with the Holy Ghost fathers.


St. Boniface

Feast: June 5
Information: Feast Day: June 5
Born: 673-680 at Crediton, Devonshire, England
Died: 5 June 754 at Dokkum, Freisland
Patron of: brewers; file cutters; tailors
Isolated missionary groups had penetrated central Germany in earlier times, but not until the eighth century was there a systematic effort to Christianize the vast pagan wilderness. To the English monk Boniface belongs the honor of opening up this region and creating a hierarchy under direct commission from the Holy See. Thirty-six years of missionary labor under difficult and dangerous conditions, ending at last in martyrdom, entitle this good and courageous man to the designation, "Apostle of Germany. Boniface, or Winfrid, to give him his baptismal name, was born into a Christian family of noble rank, probably at Crediton in Devonshire, about the year 680. The reorganized English Church, still under the inspiration brought to it from Rome two generations earlier by Augustine of Canterbury, was full of fervor and vitality. Winfrid was a very small boy when he found himself listening to the conversation of some monks who were visiting his home. He resolved then to enter the Church, and this resolution never weakened. Winfrid's father had other plans for his clever son, but a serious illness altered his attitude, and he sent the boy to the neighboring abbey of Exeter to be educated. Some years later, Winfrid went to the abbey of Bursling, in the diocese of Winchester. After completing his studies there, he was appointed head of the school:
His teaching skill attracted many students, and for their use he wrote a grammar which is still extant. The pupils diligently took notes at his classes, and these were copied and circulated in other monasteries, where they were eagerly studied. At the age of thirty he was ordained priest, and now added preaching to teaching and administrative work.
Winfrid was assured of rapid advancement in the English Church, but God revealed to him that his work was to be in foreign lands, where need was greater. Northern Europe and most of Central Europe were still in pagan darkness. In Friesland, which then included modern Netherlands and lands to the east, the Northumbrian missionary Willibrord had long been striving to bring the Gospel to the people. It was to this region that Winfrid felt himself called. Having obtained the consent of his abbot, he and two companions set out in the spring of 716. Soon after landing at Doerstadt they learned that Duke Radbold of Friesland, an enemy of Christianity, was warring with Charles Martel, the Frankish duke, and that Willibrord had been obliged to retire to his monastery at Echternacht. Realizing that the time was inauspicious, the missionaries prudently returned to England in the autumn. Winfrid's monks at Bursling tried to keep him there, and wished to elect him abbot, but he was not to be turned from his purpose.
This first attempt had shown him that to be effective as a missionary he must have a direct commission from the Pope, so in 718, with commendatory letters from the bishop of Winchester, he presented himself in Rome before Gregory II. The Pope welcomed him warmly, kept him in Rome until spring of the following year, when traveling conditions were favorable, and then sent him forth with a general commission to preach the word of God to the heathen. At this time Winfrid's name was changed to Boniface (from the Latin, , fortunate). Crossing the lower Alps, the missionary traveled through Bavaria into Hesse. Duke Radbold had died and his successor was more friendly. Going into Friesland, Boniface labored for three years under Willibrord, who was now very old. Boniface declined to become Willibrord's coadjutor and successor as bishop of Utrecht, saying that his commission had been general, "to the heathen," and he could not be limited to any one diocese. He now returned to work in Hesse.
Boniface had little difficulty in making himself understood as a preacher, since the dialects of the various Teutonic tribes closely resembled his native Anglo-Saxon. He won the interest of two powerful local chieftains, Dettic and Deorulf, who at some previous time had been baptized. For lack of instruction they had remained little better than pagans; now they became zealous Christians and influenced many others to be baptized. They also gave Boniface a grant of land on which he later founded the monastery of Amoeneburg. Boniface was able to report such remarkable gains that the Pope summoned him back to Rome to be ordained bishop.
In Rome on St. Andrew's Day, November 30, 722, Pope Gregory II consecrated him as regionary bishop with a general jurisdiction over "the races in the parts of Germany and east of the Rhine who live in error, in the shadow of death." The Pope also gave him a letter to the powerful Charles Martel, "The Hammer." When Boniface delivered it to the Frankish duke on his way back to Germany, he received the valuable gift of a sealed pledge of Frankish protection. Armed thus with authority from both the Church and the civil power, the prestige of Boniface was vastly enhanced. On his return to Hesse, he decided to try to root out the pagan superstitions which seriously affected the stability of his converts. On a day publicly announced, and in the midst of an awe-struck crowd, Boniface and one or two of his followers attacked with axes Thor's sacred oak. These German tribes, along with many other primitive peoples, were tree-worshipers. Thor, god of thunder, was one of the principal Teutonic deities, and this ancient oak, which stood on the summit of Mt. Gudenberg, was sacred to him. After a few blows, the huge tree crashed to earth, splitting into four parts. The terrified tribesmen, who had expected a punishment to fall instantly on the perpetrators of such an outrage, now saw that their god was powerless to protect even his own sanctuary.
To signalize the victory, Boniface built a chapel on the spot. From that time the work of evangelization in Hesse proceeded steadily.
Moving east into Thuringia, Boniface continued his crusade. He found a few undisciplined Celtic and Irish priests, who tended to be a hindrance; many of them held heretical beliefs and others lived immoral lives. Boniface restored order among them, although his chief aim was to win over the pagan tribes. At Ohrdruff, near Gotha, he established a second monastery, dedicated to St. Michael, as a missionary center. Everywhere the people were ready to listen, but there was a critical lack of teachers. Boniface appealed to the English monasteries and convents, and their response was so wholehearted that for several years bands of monks, schoolmasters, and nuns came over to place themselves under his direction. The two monasteries already built were enlarged and new ones founded. Among the new English missionaries were Lullus, who was to succeed Boniface at Mainz, Eoban, who was to share his martyrdom, Burchard, and Wigbert; the nuns included Thecla, Chunitrude, and Boniface's beautiful and learned young cousin, Lioba, later to become abbess of Bischofsheim and friend of Hildegarde, Charlemagne's wife.
Pope Gregory III sent Boniface the pallium in 731, appointing him archbishop and metropolitan of all Germany beyond the Rhine, with authority to found new bishoprics. A few years later Boniface made his third trip to Rome to confer about the churches he had founded, and at this time he was appointed apostolic legate. Stopping at Monte Cassino, he enlisted more missionaries. In his capacity as legate he traveled into Bavaria to organize the Church there into the four bishoprics of Regensburg, Freising, Salzburg, and Passau. From Bavaria he returned to his own field and founded new bishoprics at Erfurt for Thuringia, Buraburg for Hesse, Wurzburg for Franconia, and Eichstadt for the Nordgau. An English monk was placed at the head of each new diocese. In 741 the great Benedictine abbey at Fulda was founded in Prussia to serve as the fountainhead of German monastic culture. Its first abbot was Boniface's young Bavarian disciple, Sturm or Sturmio. In the early Middle Ages Fulda produced a host of scholars and teachers, and became known as the Monte Cassino of Germany.
While the evangelization of Germany was proceeding steadily, the Church in Gaul, under the Merovingian kings, was disintegrating. High ecclesiastical offices were either kept vacant, sold to the highest bidder, or bestowed on unworthy favorites. Pluralism, the holding by one man of many offices, each of which should demand his full time, was common. The great mass of the clergy was ignorant and undisciplined. No synod or church council had been held for eighty-four years. Charles Martel had been conquering and consolidating the regions of western Europe, and now regarded himself as an ally of the papacy and the chief champion of the Church, yet he had persistently plundered it to obtain funds for his wars and did nothing to help the work of reform. His death, however, in 74I, and the accession of his sons, Carloman and Pepin the Short, provided an opportunity which Boniface quickly seized. Carloman, the elder, was very devout and held Boniface in great veneration; Boniface had no trouble in persuading him to call a synod to deal with errors and abuses in the Church in Austrasia, Alemannia, and Thuringia.
The first assembly was followed by several others. Boniface presided over them all, and was able to carry through many important reforms. The vacant bishoprics and parishes were filled, discipline reestablished, and fresh vigor infused into the Frankish Church.
A heretic who had been creating much disturbance, one Adalbert of Neustria, was condemned by the synod of Soissons in 744. In 747 another general council of the Frankish clergy drew up a profession of faith and fidelity which was sent to Rome and laid upon the altar in the crypt of St. Peter's. After five years' labor Boniface had succeeded in restoring the Church of Gaul to its former greatness.
Now Boniface desired that Britain too should share in this reform movement. At his request and that of Pope Zacharias, the archbishop of Canterbury held a council at Clovesho, in 747, which adopted many of the resolutions passed in Gaul. This was also the year when Boniface was given a metropolitan see. Cologne was at first proposed as his cathedral city, but Mainz was finally chosen. Even when Cologne and other cities became archiepiscopal sees, Mainz retained the primacy. The Pope also made Boniface primate of Germany as well as apostolic legate for both Germany and Gaul.
Carloman now retired to a monastery, but his successor, Pepin, who brought all Gaul under his control, gave Boniface his support. "Without the patronage of the Frankish chiefs," Boniface wrote in a letter to England, "I cannot govern the people or exercise discipline over the clergy and monks, or check the practice of paganism." As apostolic legate, Boniface crowned Pepin at Soissons in 75I, thus giving papal sanction to the assumption of royal power by the father of Charlemagne. Boniface, beginning to feel the weight of his years, made Lullus his coadjutor. Yet even now, when he was past seventy, his missionary zeal burned ardently. He wished to spend his last years laboring among those first converts in Friesland, who, since Willibrord's death, were relapsing once more into paganism. Leaving all things in order for Lullus, who was to become his successor, he embarked with some fifty companions and sailed down the Rhine. At Utrecht the party was joined by Eoban, bishop of that diocese. They set to work reclaiming the relapsed Christians, and during the following months made fruitful contact with the hitherto untouched tribes to the northeast. Boniface arranged to hold a great confirmation service on Whitsun Eve on the plain of Dokkum, near the banks of the little river Borne.
While awaiting the arrival of the converts, Boniface was quietly reading in his tent.
Suddenly a band of armed pagans appeared in the center of the encampment. His companions would have tried to defend their leader, but Boniface would not allow them to do so. Even as he was telling them to trust in God and welcome the prospect of dying for Him, the Germans attacked. Boniface was one of the first to fall; his companions shared his fate. The pagans, expecting to carry away rich booty, were disgusted when they found, besides provisions, only a box of holy relics and a few books They did not bother to carry away these objects, which were later collected by the Christians who came to avenge the martyrs and rescue their remains. The body of Boniface was carried to Fulda for burial, and there it still rests. The book the bishop was reading and which he is said to have lifted above his head to save it when the blow fell is also one of Fulda's treasures.
Boniface has been called the pro-consul of the papacy. His administrative and organizing genius left its mark on the German Church throughout the Middle Ages.
Though Boniface was primarily a man of action, his literary remains are extensive.
Especially interesting and important from the point of view of Church dogma and history are his letters
Among the emblems of Boniface are an oak, an axe, a sword, a book.
Mark 12: 38 - 44

38 And in his teaching he said, "Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and to have salutations in the market places

39 and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts,

40 who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation."

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums.

42 And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.

43 And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.

44 For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."
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