Boniface of Tarsus

● Orthodox Remembrance Day: May 14, December 19
● Name means: the benefactor (from Latin)
● Martyr, Ice Saint (Boniface is one of the three Ice Saints)
● Born in Rome
● Died around 306 in Tarsus in Cilicia, Turkey

The story of Boniface of Tarsus is one of transformation and redemption. Before his conversion
to Christianity, Boniface lived a life of sin with Aglae, a wealthy Roman woman who
commissioned him to find the relics of Christian martyrs in Tarsus and bring them back to Rome.
However, when Boniface witnessed the torture and killings of Christians in Tarsus under
Emperor Galerius, something within him changed. He was baptized and professed his newfound
faith, but unfortunately, it led to his own persecution and eventual death by boiling.
Despite his tragic end, Boniface’s story lived on. His companions brought his bones to Rome,
where they were buried on Via Latina and later transferred to the church of Santi Bonifacio e
Alessio, a place dedicated to honoring both him and Alexius of Edessa.
Interestingly, the tale of Boniface’s sufferings was not originally recorded with a specific place
and time of martyrdom. Instead, it was only added in the Latin translation. The story itself,
referred to as a novel-like edification narrative, was revised by Simeon Metaphrastes.
Boniface of Tarsus is remembered today as an inspiring figure, one whose life and legacy
continue to resonate with many. He is often depicted in artwork as a youthful or bearded old
man suffering martyrdom in hot resin. Additionally, his influence can be seen in Winfried
Bonifatius, the apostle of the Germans, who named himself after Boniface in homage to his
dedication and faith.