(c. 760—775) missionary

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St Boniface (c. 675—754) archbishop of Mainz, missionary, and martyr


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(d. c.775). An Anglo-Saxon who became a monk at Wilfrid's monastery of Ripon, Lebuin joined his compatriot missionaries in Germany and Frisia in 754, the year of the death of Boniface. His Frankish disciple Gregory, then at Utrecht, received Lebuin gladly and sent him to the eastern Netherlands, where he worked in the dangerous border area of Franks and Saxons near the river Ysel. The main centre of his work was Deventer, where he built a church, subsequently burnt down and then rebuilt, and where he died and was buried. He was not a bishop and should not be identified with the bishop Leofwine who wrote with Boniface to Ethelbald, king of Mercia. Lebuin's preaching at Marklo, where the Saxons held an annual secular assembly, is described in the 9th-century Life. Holding a cross and a gospel-book he proclaimed that the Lord alone, the Creator, is the only true God, that their heathen gods were dead and powerless, that he himself had been sent to bring them peace and salvation through baptism, and that if they refused they would be destroyed by a king who would be sent against them. Although some of the Saxons cut stakes to kill him, others honoured him as an ‘ambassador from God’, and he was allowed to travel and preach wherever he wished. Feast: 12 November, mainly in Holland.

From The Oxford Dictionary of Saints in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Christianity.

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