Boniface, the name of nine popes of the Roman Catholic church. I. Saint, the successor of Pope Zosimus in 418, died in 422. The emperor Honorius supported his claims to the pontifical chair against the archdeacon Eulalius, who was chosen by an opposition party supported by Symmachus. St. Augustine dedicated to this pontiff his four books against the Pelagians. II. Successor of Felix IV. in 530, died in 532. His election was disputed, but Dioscorus, the rival claimant, died, and the schism ended. III. A Greek, successor of Sabinianus in March, 607, died in November of the same year. He convoked a council of 72 bishops, in which certain laws were passed against choosing successors to popes or bishops during their lifetime, and obtained from the emperor Phocas the acknowledgment that the see of Rome had universal supremacy. IV. Saint, son of a physician, successor of Boniface III., died probably in 615. He changed the Pantheon with the permission of the Byzantine emperor into a church, and his own house in the country of the Marsi into a monastery. V. A Neapolitan, successor of Pope Deusdedit in 619, died in 624 or 625. He forbade civil judges to take away from the churches by force those who claimed there the right of asylum. VI. Pope after Formo-sus in 896, occupied the throne only 15 days.
Having been uncanonically elected by a popular faction, he is sometimes regarded as one of the antipopes. VII. Franco, a cardinal deacon, chosen in a popular tumult in which Benedict VI. was strangled in 974, died in 985. He was expelled from Rome shortly after his election, and went to Constantinople, but returned on the death of Benedict VII. (983), and finding John XIV. in the papal chair, had him thrown into prison and resumed the place. VIII. Benedetto Gaetano, born at Anagni about 1228, died in Rome in October, 1303. About 1255 he visited England; in 1280 he went to Germany as secretary of a papal legate; in 1281 he was made a cardinal by Martin IV., who allowed him to receive the revenues of twelve benefices, seven of them being in France and one in England. He was papal legate in France in 1290, and afterward in Sicily and Portugal, and was chosen to the papal chair on the abdication of Celestine V. in December, 1294. His entry into Rome was attended with extraordinary pomp. In 1296 Boniface issued his famous bull, Clericis laicos, by which he forbade the clergy, under pain of excommunication, to pay without the consent of the holy see any subsidy or tax on any ecclesiastical property, and extended the excommunication to the emperors, kings, or princes who should impose such subsidy.
The vigor with which Philip the Fair resisted this bull obliged the pope to retract, and to allow the taxes to be raised in France as before. He became soon after embroiled with the Colonna family, who denied the validity of his election. Two cardinals of this family were deprived of their dignities; the entire family were excommunicated, their descendants were condemned to civil degradation to the fourth generation, their castles and their city, Praeneste, were totally destroyed, and Frederick of Aragon, whom they had supported, was ordered to renounce the title of king of Sicily, and to evacuate the island. The Colon-nas took refuge in France. Boniface interfered to make peace between France and England. He censured the king of Denmark and his brother; forbade the king of Naples to treat with Frederick, elected king of Sicily; summoned to Rome Albert I., king of Germany, whose election as emperor he declared to be invalid without the papal sanction; and rebuked Philip the Fair for his treatment of Guido of Flanders. In 1300 Boniface proclaimed the first jubilee in a bull granting plenary indulgence to all who should visit the sanctuaries in Rome during that year. Soon after this his quarrel with the king of France became more violent than ever.
In December, 1301, Boniface issued the bull Ausculta Dei, and convoked a council of the French bishops at Rome to examine the conduct of King Philip, at the same time affirming it to be heretical not to believe that the king was subject to the pope in secular as well as spiritual affairs. The French nation, however, opposed the pretensions of the pope, and supported their king; and it was formally declared by the three estates that the king held his power in fief to no one, and in secular matters was subject to God alone. The bishops were forbidden to attend the council at Rome, which therefore was never held. In 1302 the bull Unam sanctam affirmed the claims of the pope, setting forth that the church wields two swords, the spiritual and the secular, but that the secular is subordinate to the spiritual, and that therefore kings, who hold the former, are subject to the pope, who holds the latter. The bishops of France were again convoked under pain of excommunication; but Philip ordered the sequestration of the property of every one who should be absent from his diocese, and in his turn summoned a general council at Lyons to judge the pope.
To this council the university of Paris and a large number of prelates adhered; the excommunication of Philip followed, April 13,1303; and in June the assembled estates of France declared the pope a criminal and a heretic. The king sent Guil-laume de Nogaret and Sciarra Colonna to Rome to seize the pope and bring him before the council of Lyons. They armed about 300 malcontent Italian nobles, surprised Anagni, the residence of Boniface, forced the palace, and seized the person, diamonds, and papers of the pope, and guarded him as a prisoner. After three days Boniface was rescued by the inhabitants of Anagni and taken to Rome, where he was protected in the Vatican by the Orsini; but the violent commotion he had gone through caused his death 34 days after his captivity. Boniface incurred the bitter enmity of Dante by his persecution of the Ghi-bellines, and is repeatedly denounced in the Divina Commedia. IX. Pietro Tomacelli, born in Naples, succeeded Urban VI., at Rome, Nov. 2, 1389, while the antipope Clement VII. ruled at Avignon, died in Rome, Oct. 1, 1404. He recognized Ladislas, the son of Charles of Du-razzo, asking of Naples in 1390, and celebrated two jubilees, 1390 and 1400. The annates, which had before been occasional, he made perpetual, and decreed that archbishops and bishops nominated to benefices should pay to Rome one half of their first year's revenue.
He was twice expelled from Rome by the municipal authorities, and when in 1400 his presence became necessary for the celebration of the jubilee, he refused to return till the Romans consented to the overthrow of the municipal government, promised obedience to a senate appointed by himself, and paid him a sum of money. From that time he ruled the city absolutely.
Boniface, a saint of the Roman Catholic church, born in Devonshire, England, about 680, died in Friesland in June, 755. His baptismal name was Winifrid or Winifreth. He is usually called the apostle of Germany, though he was not the first to preach Christianity in that country. He was educated in the Benedictine monastery of Exeter, and was at one time professor of theology, history, and rhetoric in that of Nutcell, where he became a presbyter. In 718 he went to Rome, and received from Pope Gregory II. an apostolic mission to Germany. He entered Friesland, where he preached during three years, then passed into Hesse, and founded there a monastery, around which in the course of time grew up the city of Marburg, and which now remains as a university. In 723 Gregory II. called him to Rome and consecrated him as a bishop, and on this occasion his name of Winifrid was changed to Boniface. In 732 Gregory III. made him archbishop and primate of Germany, and in 738, after a third journey to Rome, papal legate. He erected various bishoprics, and established numerous churches in different parts of the country.
He also exercised a great influence over the last Merovingians, and over Pepin and Carloman. He was named archbishop of Mentz by Pepin, and founded the celebrated abbey of Fulda, and also those of Fritzlar and Hammelburg. Boniface finally gave up his see of Mentz, in order the better to preach to the Frisians. In one of his journeys across the savage country where now is Dokkum, near Leeuwarden, he was attacked by the natives and slain, together with some 50 of his converted companions, whom he forbade to use any means of defence. His body was buried in Utrecht, afterward removed to Mentz, and finally to Fulda, where a copy of the Gospels in his handwriting is still preserved. A complete edition of his letters was published at Mentz in 1789. His other writings (Be Rebus Ecclesiasticis, Instituta Synodalia, and Be suis in Germania Rebus) were published at Oxford in 1845, in 2 vols. A monument to him was erected in 1811 on the spot (near Altenberga, Thuringia) where the first Christian church was built by him in 724. Another was erected at Fulda in 1842.