Pope Boniface IV

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Pope Saint Boniface IV (c. 550 – May 25, 615) was pope from 608 to his death.

Son of Johannes, a physician, a Marsian from the province and town of Valeria; he succeeded Boniface III after a vacancy of over nine months. He was consecrated on either 25 August (Duchesne) or September 15 (Jaffé) in 608. His death is listed as either May 8 or May 25, 615 by these two authorities.

In the time of Pope Gregory I, he was a deacon of the Roman Church and held the position of dispensator, that is, the first official in connection with the administration of the patrimonies.

Boniface obtained leave from the Emperor Phocas to convert the Pantheon, Rome into a Christian church, and on May 13, 609 (?) the temple erected by Agrippa to Jupiter the Avenger, to Venus, and to Mars was consecrated by the pope to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs. It was the first instance at Rome of the transformation of a pagan temple into a place of Christian worship. Twenty-eight cartloads of sacred bones were said to have been removed from the Catacombs and placed in a porphyry basin beneath the high altar.

During the pontificate of Boniface, Mellitus, the first Bishop of London, went to Rome "to consult the pope on important matters relative to the newly established English Church".[1] While in Rome he assisted at a council then being held concerning certain questions on "the life and monastic peace of monks", and, on his departure, took with him to England the decree of the council together with letters from the pope to Lawrence, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to all the clergy, to King Ethelbert, and to all the English people "concerning what was to be observed by the Church of England". The decrees of the council now extant are spurious. The letter to Ethelbert[2] is considered spurious by Hefele,[3] questionable by Haddan and Stubbs,[4] and genuine by Jaffé.[5]

Between 612 and 615, the Irish missionary Saint Columban, then living at Bobbio in Italy, was persuaded by Agilulf, King of the Lombards, to address a letter on the condemnation of the "Three Chapters" to Boniface IV. "You have already erred, O Rome! — fatally, foully erred. No longer do you shine as a star in the apostolic firmament," Columban wrote. He also tells the pope that he is charged with heresy for accepting the Fifth Ecumenical Council (the Second Council of Constantinople in 553), and exhorts him to summon a council and prove his orthodoxy.[6]

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