Pope Boniface IV
|Papacy began||25 September 608|
|Papacy ended||8 May 615|
Valeria, Byzantine Empire
|Died||8 May 615 (aged 65)|
Rome, Byzantine Empire
|Feast day||8 May|
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Canonized||by Boniface VIII|
|Other popes named Boniface|
Pope Boniface IV (Latin: Bonifatius IV; died 8 May 615[a]) was the bishop of Rome from 608 to his death. Boniface had served as a deacon under Pope Gregory I, and like his mentor, he ran the Lateran Palace as a monastery. As pope, he encouraged monasticism. With imperial permission, he converted the Pantheon into a church. In 610, he conferred with Bishop Mellitus of London regarding the needs of the English Church. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church with a universal feast day on 8 May.
Family and early career
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. During the pontificate of Gregory the Great, Boniface 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 IV was elected to succeed Boniface III but a vacancy of over nine months ensued, awaiting imperial confirmation from Constantinople. He was consecrated on either 25 August, according to Duchesne, or 15 September, according to Jaffé, in 608. The Vatican lists the official beginning of his papacy as 25 September.
Boniface obtained leave from Emperor Phocas to convert the Pantheon in Rome into a Christian church, and on 13 May 609, 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 in 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.
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 to England the decree of the council together with letters from the pope to Archbishop Laurence of Canterbury and to all the clergy, to King Æthelberht of Kent, and to all the Anglo-Saxons. The decrees of the council now extant are spurious. The letter to Æthelberht  is considered spurious by Hefele, questionable by Haddan and Stubbs, and genuine by Jaffé.
Between 612 and 615, the Irish missionary Columbanus, then living at Bobbio in Italy, was persuaded by King Agilulf of Lombardy to address a letter on the condemnation of the "Three Chapters" to Boniface IV. He told the pope that he was suspected of heresy for accepting the Fifth Ecumenical Council and exhorted him to summon a council and prove his orthodoxy. There is no record of a rejoinder from Boniface.
Inspired by Gregory the Great, Boniface IV converted his house into a monastery, where he retired and died on 8 May. He was succeeded by Adeodatus I, who reversed his policy favouring monasticism. Boniface IV 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. Boniface IV is commemorated as a saint in the Roman Martyrology on his feast day, 8 May.
- "Bonifacio (?-615)". Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "St Boniface IV", Oxford Reference
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- Oestereich, Thomas (1907). "Pope St. Boniface IV". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Andrew J. Ekonomou. Byzantine Rome and the Greek Popes. Lexington books, 2007
- MacDonald, William L. (1976). The Pantheon: Design, Meaning, and Progeny. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01019-1
- Oestreich 1907 cites:William of Malmesbury & De Gest. Pont., I, 1465
- Oestreich 1907 cites: Hefele 1869, III, p. 66.
- Oestreich 1907 cites: Mansi, Councils, III, 65.
- Oestreich 1907 cites: Jaffé 1881, 1988 (1548).
- Bede. Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum.
- Mula, Stefano (2003). Muhammad and the Saints: The History of the Prophet in the Golden Legend (PDF). The University of Chicago Press. p. 178. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
- Hefele, Karl Joseph von (1869). Conciliengeschichte. III. Freiburg im Breisgau [etc.] Herder. p. 66.
- William of Malmesbury. Gesta Pontificum Anglorum (The History of the English Bishops). I. Migne. p. 1465.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Oestreich, Thomas (1907). "Pope St. Boniface IV". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Endnotes:
- Duchesne, Louis (ed.). Liber Pontificalis (in French). 1. p. 317.
- Gasquet, Francis Aidan (1903). A Short History of the Catholic Church in England. p. 19.
- Gregorovius, Ferdinand, II, 104
- Hunt, William (1901). The English Church from Its Foundation to the Norman Conquest (597-1066). 1. London & New York: Macmillan and Co. p. 42.
- Jaffé, Philipp (1881) . Regesta Pontificum Romanorum ab condita ecclesia ad annum 1198. I (2d ed.). Leipsic. p. 220.
- Langen, Joseph (1881). Geschichte der Römischen Kirche. 2. p. 501.
- Mann, Horace K. (1906). The lives of the popes in the early middle ages: The popes under the Lombard rule : St. Gregory I (the Great) to Leo III, 590-795. I:1. pp. 268-279.
- Mansi, Gian Domenico. Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio. X. p. 501.
- Paul the Deacon (1907). "Book III: Chapter IV". History of the Lombards. Translated by Foulke, William Dudley. University of Pennsylvania. pp. 36–37.
- Reumont, Alfred von (1867). Geschichte der Stadt Rom. II. Berlin. pp. 156, 165.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article Pope St. Boniface IV.|
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