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S. Nicomede, Priest and Martyr.
S. NICOMEDE was a holy priest of the Roman Church, in the end of the first century. He is supposed to have been a disciple of the blessed Apostle S. Peter, and to have assisted him in preaching. Under the reign of Domitian, in the year 90, Felicula, a virgin, had suffered death for Christ, and Nicomede at the peril of his life buried her body with Christian rites. This last office was then, as now, deemed one of the seven corporal works of blessed mercy. Flaccus, a nobleman, who had been the cause of the martyrdom of Felicula, hearing of this deed of Nicomede, ordered him to be led to an altar, and to offer sacrifice to the gods. He refused to deny Christ, and was beaten to death with whips loaded with lead. His body was thrown into the Tiber, but a priest named Justus recovered it, and buried it in hallowed earth, near the Via Nomentana. His martyrdom took place on the 15th of September, on which day it is commemorated in the
Sacramentary of S. Gregory, and in many of the Martyrologies. The 1st of June was observed at Rome in memory of the dedication of a church in his honour. On this day also the English Church has for many ages remembered him, as well as on September 15th. Pope Boniface V. consecrated a cemetery at Rome, in 620, which bore the name of S. Nicomede.
The Sixt had charge of them now being dead,
S. Boniface, Archbishop and Martyr.
S. BONIFACE, the Apostle of Germany, as he is called, was born at Kirton or Crediton, in Devonshire, in the year 680. His English name was Winfred. He was trained from his early years in the monastery of Exeter, and he afterwards removed to Nutcell, a religious house in the diocess of Winchester, which was destroyed by the Danes, and was never rebuilt. There he applied himself to the study of science, and especially to the interpretation of Holy Scripture. In due time he was promoted to direct the education of others. When he was
about thirty years of age, he was ordained priest, and began with great zeal to instruct the people, and to labour for the salvation of souls. The bishops of the province having been hastily summoned to meet in council, without waiting for the leave of Brithwald the primate, Boniface was sent to Canterbury to give an explanation, and to report their proceedings. He discharged the duty so well, that the bishops frequently afterwards called him to their councils.
From his youth, his ardent desire had been to carry the Gospel into pagan countries. In 716, he, with great difficulty, obtained leave from his abbat to pass into Friseland, accompanied by only two monks. Radbod the king of the country was a heathen, though many of his subjects had been converted by S. Willebrord bishop of Utrecht and S. Wulfran archbishop of Sens. But the country was then distracted by war; and the king having declared his determination to live and die in the religion of his ancestors, Boniface found no opportunity for executing his pious designs, and returned home. The abbat of Nutcell dying soon after, he was elected in his place, but refused to accept the office. In 719 he obtained letters from Daniel bishop of Winchester, and went to Rome to offer himself to Pope Gregory II. as a missioner. After reading the letters which he had brought, and conversing with him, Gregory approved of his undertaking, and gave him a commission to preach and baptize in any infidel countries whither he might choose to go. He dismissed him with his blessing, and the gift of some precious relics, and begged him to inform him,