Pope Boniface IV

Pope Boniface IV (Latin: Bonifatius IV; d. 8 May 615)[2] was Pope from 25 September 608 to his death in 615. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church with a universal feast falling annually on 8 May. Boniface had served as a deacon under Pope Gregory I, and like his mentor had made his house into a monastery. As Pope, he encouraged monks and monasticism. With permission of the Emperor, he converted the Pantheon into the Church of St. Mary and the Martyrs. In 610, he conferred with Mellitus (d. 624), first bishop of London, regarding the needs of the English Church.

Pope Saint

Boniface IV
San Benedetto dei Marsi Papa Bonifacio IV
Papa Bonifacio IV
Papacy began25 September 608
Papacy ended8 May 615
PredecessorBoniface III
SuccessorAdeodatus I
Created cardinal10 May 591
by Pope Gregory I
Personal details
Birth nameBonifacio
BornValeria, Byzantine Empire
Died8 May 615 (aged 65)
Rome, Byzantine Empire
Previous postCardinal-DFeacon of the Holy Roman Church (591-608)
Feast day8 May
Venerated inCatholic Church
Canonizedby Pope Boniface VIII[1]
AttributesPapal vestments
Other popes named Boniface
Papal styles of
Pope Boniface IV
Emblem of the Papacy SE
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleSaint


Boniface was born in what is now the Province of L'Aquila; his father was a physician named John. His family was of Marsi origins according to the Liber Pontificalis[3]. At 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.[4]

He succeeded Boniface III after a vacancy of over nine months, awaiting confirmation from Constantinople. He was consecrated on either 25 August (Duchesne) or 15 September (Jaffé) in 608. (His death is listed as either 8 May or 25 May 615 by these same two authorities.)[4]

Boniface obtained leave from the Byzantine Emperor Phocas to convert the Pantheon in Rome into a Christian church, and on 13 May 609,[5] the temple erected by Agrippa to Jupiter the Avenger, Venus, and 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.[4]

In 610, Mellitus, the first Bishop of London, went to Rome "to consult the pope on important matters relative to the newly established English Church". While in Rome he assisted at a synod 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 Æthelberht of Kent, and to all the English people in general.[6] The decrees of the council now extant are spurious. The letter to Æthelberht [7] is considered spurious by Hefele,[8] questionable by Haddan and Stubbs,[9] and genuine by Jaffé.[10]

Between 612 and 615, the Irish missionary Columbanus, 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. He tells the pope that he is suspect of 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.[4] There is no record of a rejoinder from Boniface.

Boniface had converted his own house into a monastery, where he retired and died. He was buried in the portico of St. Peter's Basilica. His remains were three times removed — in the tenth or eleventh century, at the close of the thirteenth under Boniface VIII, and to the new St. Peter's on 21 October 1603.[4]

Boniface IV is commemorated as a saint in the Roman Martyrology on his feast day, 8 May.[6]

See also


  1. ^ "Bonifacio (?-615)". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Archived from the original on 2015-09-05. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  2. ^ Prevato, Franco. San Bonifacio IV Santi Beati, 27 August 2003
  3. ^ Andrew J. Ekonomou. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington books, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e Oestereich, Thomas. "Pope St. Boniface IV." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907
  5. ^ MacDonald, William L. (1976). The Pantheon: Design, Meaning, and Progeny. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01019-1
  6. ^ a b "St Boniface IV", Oxford Reference
  7. ^ Oestreich 1907 cites:William of Malmesbury & De Gest. Pont., I, 1465
  8. ^ Oestreich 1907 cites: Hefele 1869, III, p. 66.
  9. ^ Oestreich 1907 cites: Mansi, Councils, III, 65.
  10. ^ Oestreich 1907 cites: Jaffé 1881, 1988 (1548).



External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Boniface III
Succeeded by
Adeodatus I

Year 550 (DL) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 550 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

600s (decade)

The 600s decade ran from January 1, 600, to December 31, 609.


Year 608 (DCVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 608 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 609 (DCIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 609 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 610 (DCX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 610 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


The 610s decade ran from January 1, 610, to December 31, 619.


Year 615 (DCXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 615 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Chronology (from Latin chronologia, from Ancient Greek χρόνος, chrónos, "time"; and -λογία, -logia) is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time. Consider, for example, the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is a part of periodization. It is also a part of the discipline of history including earth history, the earth sciences, and study of the geologic time scale.

Column of Phocas

The Column of Phocas (Italian: Colonna di Foca) is a Roman monumental column in the Roman Forum of Rome, Italy. Erected in front of the Rostra and dedicated or rededicated in honour of the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas on August 1, 608, it was the last addition made to the Forum Romanum. The fluted Corinthian column stands 13.6 m (44 ft) tall on its cubical white marble socle. On stylistic grounds, the column seems to have been made in the 2nd century for an unknown structure, and then recycled for the present monument. Likewise, the socle was recycled from its original use supporting a statue dedicated to Diocletian; the former inscription was chiselled away to provide a space for the later text.

The base of the column was uncovered in 1813, and the inscription on it reads, in Latin:

Optimo clementiss[imo piissi]moque / principi domino n[ostro] / F[ocae imperat]ori / perpetuo a d[e]o coronato, [t]riumphatori / semper Augusto / Smaragdus ex praepos[ito] sacri palatii / ac patricius et exarchus Italiae / devotus eius clementiae / pro innumerabilibus pietatis eius beneficiis et pro quiete / procurata Ital[iae] ac conservata libertate / hanc sta(tuam maiesta)tis eius / auri splend(ore fulge)ntem huic / sublimi colu(m)na(e ad) perennem / ipsius gloriam imposuit ac dedicavit / die prima mensis Augusti, indict[ione] und[icesima] / p[ost] c[onsulatum] pietatis eius anno quinto

The English translation is as follows:

To the best, most clement and pious ruler, our lord Phocas the perpetual emperor, crowned by God, the forever august triumphator, did Smaragdus, former praepositus sacri palatii and patricius and Exarch of Italy, devoted to His Clemency for the innumerable benefactions of His Piousness and for the peace acquired for Italy and its freedom preserved, this statue of His Majesty, blinking from the splendor of gold here on this tallest column for his eternal glory erect and dedicate, on the first day of the month of August, in the eleventh indiction in the fifth year after the consulate of His Piousness.

The precise occasion for this signal honour is unknown, though Phocas had formally donated the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV, who rededicated it to all the martyrs and Mary (Sancta Maria ad Martyres). Atop the column's capital was erected by Smaragdus, the Exarch of Ravenna, a "dazzling" gilded statue of Phocas (which probably only briefly stood there). Rather than a demonstration to mark papal gratitude as it is sometimes casually declared to be, the gilded statue on its column was more likely an emblem of the imperial sovereignty over Rome, which was rapidly fading under pressure from the Lombards, and a personal mark of gratitude from Smaragdus, who had been recalled by Phocas from a long exile and was indebted to the Emperor for retrieving his position of power at Ravenna.

In October 610, Phocas was overthrown and killed; his statues everywhere were overthrown.

The monument remains today in its original location (in situ). Its isolated, free-standing position among the ruins has always made it a landmark in the Forum, and it often appears in vedute and engravings. The rise in ground level due to silt and debris had completely buried the socle by the time Giuseppe Vasi and Giambattista Piranesi made engravings and etchings of the column in the mid-18th century. The square foundation of brick (illustration, right) was not originally visible, the present level of the Forum not having been excavated down to its earlier Augustan paving until the 19th century.

Lemuria (festival)

The Lemuralia or Lemuria was a feast in the religion of ancient Rome during which the Romans performed rites to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were propitiated with offerings of beans. On those days, the Vestals would prepare sacred mola salsa, a salted flour cake, from the first ears of wheat of the season.

May 8

May 8 is the 128th day of the year (129th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 237 days remain until the end of the year.

Nechtan nepos Uerb

Nechtan grandson of Uerb, was king of the Picts from 595 to around 616. It has been suggested that this Nechtan is the same person as the Neithon who ruled the kingdom of Alt Clut.According to the Pictish Chronicle, Nechtan reigned for 20 or 21 years. While the death of his predecessor Gartnait is given in 597 by the Annals of Tigernach, the death of Nechtan is not certainly recorded. He may be the Nechtan son of Canu whose death appears in the Annals of Ulster for 621, although this would be difficult to reconcile with the idea that he was Neithon son of Guipno son of Dumnagual Hen of Alt Clut.It has been suggested that the Canu or Cano referred to in the Annals of Ulster is the Canu Garb named by Senchus fer n-Alban, making this Nechtan the grandson of Gartnait II, who has been suggested as a son of Áedán mac Gabráin of Dál Riata.

It is uncertain whether it is this Nechtan or Nechtan I who should be linked with the foundation of the monastery at Abernethy, but since this Nechtan reigned after the foundation of Iona by Columba, ties with Irish monastic houses are more plausible in his reign. The account of Abernethy's foundation in the Pictish Chronicle, in a version likely compiled by the monks of Abernethy, is as follows, with Nechtan I as the subject:"So Nectonius the Great, Uuirp's son, the king of all the provinces of the Picts, offered to Saint Brigid, to the day of judgement, Abernethy, with its territories ... Now the cause of the offering was this. Nectonius, living in a life of exile, when his brother Drest expelled him to Ireland, begged Saint Brigid to beseech God for him. And she prayed for him, and said: "If thou reach thy country, the Lord will have pity on thee. Thou shalt possess in peace the kingdom of the Picts."

Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, while confusing this Nechtan with Nechtan mac Der-Ilei, who reigned a century later and was also famous as a builder of churches, claims that he founded "a cathedral" dedicated to Saint Boniface at Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. A monastery at nearby Portmahomack, dated to the late 6th century, could be as late as the reign of Nechtan, although it is probably earlier.

Pantheon, Rome

The Pantheon (UK: , US: ; Latin: Pantheum, from Greek Πάνθειον Pantheion, "[temple] of all the gods") is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa's older temple, which had burned down.The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 metres (142 ft).It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history and, since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been in use as a church dedicated to "St. Mary and the Martyrs" (Latin: Sancta Maria ad Martyres) but informally known as "Santa Maria Rotonda". The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda. The Pantheon is a state property, managed by Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism through the Polo Museale del Lazio; in 2013 it was visited by over 6 million people.

The Pantheon's large circular domed cella, with a conventional temple portico front, was unique in Roman architecture. Nevertheless, it became a standard exemplar when classical styles were revived, and has been copied many times by later architects.

Pantheon (religion)

A pantheon (from Greek πάνθεον pantheon, literally "(a temple) of all gods", "of or common to all gods" from πᾶν pan- "all" and θεός theos "god") is the particular set of all gods of any polytheistic religion, mythology, or tradition.


Not to be confused with the town of Perito.Pereto (Marsicano: Pirìtu) is a comune and town in the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

It was an ancient centre of the Marsi.

Pope Boniface

There have been nine Popes named Boniface.

Pope Boniface I (r. 418–422)

Pope Boniface II (530–532)

Pope Boniface III (607)

Pope Boniface IV (608–615)

Pope Boniface V (619–625)

Pope Boniface VI (896)

Pope Boniface VII (984–985) (now listed as an antipope)

Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303)

Pope Boniface IX (1389–1404)

Sant Pere de Rodes

Sant Pere de Rodes (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈsam ˈpeɾə ðə ˈrɔðəs]) is a former Benedictine monastery in the comarca of Alt Empordà, in the North East of Catalonia, Spain.

Virgilius of Arles

Virgilius of Arles (died c. 610; Virgil, Virgile) was Archbishop of Arles in Gaul.

According to a life written in the eighth century he was born in a village of Aquitaine, became a monk, Abbot of Lérins, and Bishop of Arles, where he built a basilica of Saint Stephen and another of the Saviour. This life, accepted in its outlines by Mabillon and the Bollandists, is the scarcely modified reproduction of the Life of St. Maximus, Bishop of Riez, written by the patrician Dynamius before the death of Virgilius.

According to Gregory of Tours, Virgilius was first Abbot of the Abbey of St. Symphorian, Autun, and through the support of Syagrius, Bishop of Autun, succeeded Lizier as Bishop of Arles. In his zeal for the conversion of the numerous Jews whom trade attracted to Provence, Virgilius employed force. Gregory the Great wrote (591) to Virgilius, and to Theodore, Bishop of Marseille, praising their good intentions but recommending them to confine their zeal to prayer and preaching.

On 1 August 595, St. Gregory extended to Virgilius the title of pontifical vicar, granted to the bishops of Arles by Pope Zosimus (519); this dignity made him the intermediary between the Gallic episcopate and the Apostolic See. King Childebert was urged by the pope to assist Virgilius in exterminating simony from the Churches of Gaul and Germania. Gregory several times requested Virgilius (596, 601) to extend a welcome to Augustine of Canterbury and his monks, whom he was sending to England. On another occasion he recommended to his protection a monastery belonging to the Patrimony of the Roman Church of which Lizier had taken possession. In a letter to Virgilius and to Syagrius, Bishop of Autun, the pope complains (July, 599) of their negligence in not preventing the marriage of Syagria, a woman who, having embraced the religious life, had been violently given in marriage. In 601 Gregory advised Virgilius to assemble a council against simony and to induce the Bishop of Marseilles to reform his house.

On 23 August, 613, Pope Boniface IV sent the pallium to Virgilius's successor Florian.

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