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Pope Boniface V

Pope Boniface V 69th Roman Catholic Pontiff 619 to 625
69th Roman Catholic Pontiff from 619 to 625

Pope Boniface V was a Neopolitan and was consecrated pope on December 23, 619.

Before his consecration, Italy was disturbed by the rebellion of the eunuch Eleutherius, Exarch of Ravenna.

Shortly after Boniface V became pope, Eleutherius, the patrician pretender, proclaimed  that he wished to assume the imperial crown in Rome. This placed Pope Boniface V in a delicate situation because of his loyalty to Emperor Heraclius.

The rebel army freed Pope Boniface V from worry over what could have been a very fragile decision. Eleutheriusí own soldiers slew Eleutherius before he could reach Rome sending his head to Emperor Heraclius in Constantinople.

Pope Boniface V secured enactments relative to the rights of sanctuary. He ordered the ecclesiastical notaries to obey the laws of the empire on the subject of wills. He set the standard that acolytes should not transfer the relics of martyrs nor should they take the place of deacons in administering baptism in the Lateran Basilica.

Pope Boniface V took great interest in the infant church in England. He sent letters of encouragement to the missionaries there. He affirmed that Canterbury was the metropolitan See under the special protection of Rome and forbade anyone to go against this. Meanwhile Paulinus, a dedicated missionary, had been hard at work trying to convert the great northern kingdom of Northumbria.

In support of Paulinus, Pope Boniface V wrote letters to the royal family. Some of Pope Boniface Vís writings have been preserved. One is written to Justus, the Archbishop of Canterbury (624), directing him to "ordain bishops as occasion should require" and he also conferred the pallium upon him (a woolen vestment worn around the neck of an archbishop as a symbol of authority).

Other letters were sent to Edwin, King of Northumbria (625), urging him to embrace the Christian Faith; and to his Christian spouse, Ethelberga, encouraging her to persuade her consortís conversion. He sent gifts too: An embroidered tunic and cloak for King Edwin and a silver mirror and inlaid ivory comb for Ethelberga.

Pope Boniface V completed the construction of the Cemetery of Saint Nicomedes on the Via Nomentana. Described as "the mildest of men," Pope Boniface V had a great love for the clergy.

On October 25, 625, Pope Boniface V was buried at St. Peterís.

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