Persecutions From The Early Part Of The Eighth To Near The Conclusion Of The Tenth Century
Boniface, archbishop of Mentz, and father of the German church, was an
Englishmen, and is, in ecclesiastical history, looked upon as one of the
brightest ornaments of this nation. Originally, his name was Winfred, or
Winfrith, and he was born at Kirton, in Devonshire, then part of the
West-Saxon kingdom. When he was only about six years of age, he began to
discover a propensity to reflection, and seemed solicitous to gain
information on religious subjects. Wolfrad, the abbot, finding that he
possessed a bright genius, as well as a strong inclination to study, had
him removed to Nutscelle, a seminary of learning in the diocese of
Winchester, where he would have a much greater opportunity of attaining
improvement than at Exeter.
After due study, the abbot seeing him qualified for the priesthood,
obliged him to receive that holy order when he was about thirty years
old. From which time he began to preach and labour for the salvation of
his fellow-creatures; he was released to attend a synod of bishops in
the kingdom of West-Saxons. He afterwards, in 719, went to Rome, where
Gregory II. who then sat in Peter's chair, received him with great
friendship, and finding him full of all the virtues that compose the
character of an apostolic missionary, dismissed him with commission at
large to preach the gospel to the pagans wherever he found them.
Passing through Lombardy and Bavaria, he came to Thuringia, which
country had before received the light of the gospel, he next visited
Utrecht, and then proceeded to Saxony, where he converted some thousands
During the ministry of this meek prelate, Pepin was declared king of
France. It was that prince's ambition to be crowned by the most holy
prelate he could find, and Boniface was pitched on to perform that
ceremony, which he did at Soissons, in 752. The next year, his great age
and many infirmities lay so heavy on him, that, with the consent of the
new king, the bishops, &c. of his diocese, he consecrated Lullus, his
countryman, and faithful disciple, and placed him in the see of Mentz.
When he had thus eased himself of his charge, he recommended the church
of Mentz to the care of the new bishop in very strong terms, desired he
would finish the church at Fuld, and see him buried in it, for his end
was near. Having left these orders, he took boat to the Rhine, and went
to Friesland, where he converted and baptized several thousands of
barbarous natives, demolished the temples, and raised churches on the
ruins of those superstitious structures. A day being appointed for
confirming a great number of new converts, he ordered them to assemble
in a new open plain, near the river Bourde. Thither he repaired the day
before; and, pitching a tent, determined to remain on the spot all
night, in order to be ready early in the morning.
Some pagans, who were his inveterate enemies, having intelligence of
this, poured down upon him and the companions of his mission in the
night, and killed him and fifty-two of his companions and attendants on
June 5, A. D. 755. Thus fell the great father of the Germanic church,
the honour of England, and the glory of the age in which he lived.
Forty-two persons of Armorian in Upper Phrygia, were martyred in the
year 845, by the Saracens, the circumstances of which transaction are as
In the reign of Theophilus, the Saracens ravaged many parts of the
eastern empire, gained several considerable advantages over the
christians, took the city of Armorian, and numbers suffered martyrdom.
Flora and Mary, two ladies of distinction, suffered martyrdom at the
Perfectus was born at Corduba, in Spain, and brought up in the christian
faith. Having a quick genius, he made himself master of all the useful
and polite literature of that age; and at the same time was not more
celebrated for his abilities than admired for his piety. At length he
took priest's orders, and performed the duties of his office with great
assiduity and punctuality. Publicly declaring Mahomet an impostor, he
was sentenced to be beheaded, and was accordingly executed, A. D. 850;
after which his body was honourably interred by the christians.
Adalbert, bishop of Prague, a Bohemian by birth, after being involved
in many troubles, began to direct his thoughts to the conversion of the
infidels, to which end he repaired to Dantzic, where he converted and
baptised many, which so enraged the pagan priests, that they fell upon
him, and despatched him with darts, on the 23d of April, A. D. 997.