Martyr Boniface at Tarsus in Cilicia, and Righteous Aglæ (Aglaída) of Rome (290). Ven. Ilya (Elias) of Murom, Wonderworker of the Kiev Caves (Near Caves—1188). Martyrs Elias, Probus, and Ares in Cilicia (308). St. Boniface the Merciful, Bishop of Ferentino (6th c.). St. Gregory, Archbishop of Omirits (ca. 552).
The Holy Martyr Boniface was the slave of a rich young Roman woman named Aglaida and he dwelt with her in an iniquitous cohabitation. But they both felt the sting of conscience and they wanted somehow to be cleansed of their sin. And the Lord granted them the possibility to wash away their sin with their blood and to finish their life in repentance.
Aglaida learned that whoever keeps relics of the holy martyrs in the home and venerates them receives great help in gaining salvation. Under their influence, sin is diminished and virtue prevails. She arranged for Boniface to go to the East, where there was a fierce persecution against Christians, and she asked him to bring back the relics of some martyr, who would become a guide and protector for them.
As he was leaving, Boniface laughed and asked, “My lady, if I do not find any relics, and if I myself suffer for Christ, will you accept my body with reverence?” Aglaida scolded him, saying that he was setting off on a sacred mission, but he was not taking it seriously. Boniface pondered her words, and during the whole journey he thought that he was unworthy of touching the bodies of the martyrs.
Arriving at Tarsus in Cilicia, Boniface left his companions at the inn and proceeded to the city square, where they were torturing Christians. Struck by the beastly horrible torments, and seeing the faces of the holy martyrs radiant with the grace of the Lord, Boniface marveled at their courage. He embraced them and kissed their feet, asking them to pray that he might be found worthy to suffer with them.
The judge asked Boniface who he was. He replied, “I am a Christian,” and then refused to offer sacrifice to idols. They stripped him and hung him upside down, beating him so hard that the flesh fell from his body, exposing the bone. They stuck needles under his nails, and finally they poured molten tin down his throat, but by the power of the Lord he remained unharmed. The people who witnessed this miracle shouted, “Great is the God of the Christians!” Then they began to throw stones at the judge, and then they headed for the pagan temple, in order to cast down the idols.
On the following morning, when things had quieted down somewhat, the judge directed that the holy martyr be thrown into a cauldron of boiling tar, but this also caused the sufferer no harm. An angel come down from Heaven and bedewed him as he stepped into the cauldron. The tar overflowed the cauldron, splattering and burning the torturers themselves. Saint Boniface was then sentenced to beheading by the sword. Blood and a milky fluid flowed from his wounds. Beholding such a miracle, about 550 men believed in Christ.
Saint Boniface’s companions, waiting for two days at the inn for him in vain, began searching for him, thinking that he had gotten drunk somewhere. At first their search was without success, but finally they came across a man who had been an eyewitness to the martyr’s death. The man also led them to the place where the decapitated body lay. Saint Boniface’s companions tearfully begged his forgiveness for their unseemly thoughts about him. After they ransomed the martyr’s remains, they brought them back to Rome.
On the eve of their arrival an angel appeared to Aglaida in her sleep and told her to prepare herself to receive her former slave, now the brother and fellow-servant of the angels. Aglaida summoned the clergy, and she received the holy relics with great reverence. Then she built a church on the site of his grave and dedicated it to the holy martyr. There she enshrined his relics, glorified by numerous miracles. After distributing all her wealth to the poor, she withdrew to a monastery, where she spent fifteen years in repentance, then fell asleep in the Lord. She was buried beside Saint Boniface. The sins of the one were washed away by his blood, the other was purified by her tears and asceticism. Both were found worthy to appear unsullied before our Lord Jesus Christ, Who desires not the death of a sinner, but that he should turn from his wickedness and live (Ezek. 33:11).
We pray to Saint Boniface for deliverance from drunkenness.
Troparion of the saint, tone 4
You fervently followed the way of the martyrs Confessing Christ before unbelievers, O Boniface. You gave your body to modest Aglae As an imperishable treasure. Healing and mercy flow from it for the world.
Kontakion of the saint, tone 4
Willingly you offered yourself as a blameless sacrifice to the One about to be born of the Virgin for our sake, holy crown-bearer, all-wise Boniface.
Hebrews 10:1-18 (Epistle)
- For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
- For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins.
- But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
- For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
- Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me.
- In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure.
- Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come – in the volume of the book it is written of Me – to do Your will, O God.’”
- Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law),
- then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second.
- By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
- And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
- But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,
- from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
- For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
- But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
- This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,
- then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
- Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Mark 10:11-16 (Gospel)
- So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.
- And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
- Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
- But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.
- Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
- And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.