Saint Boniface lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (286-305). He was the servant of a ranking Roman woman named Aglais, but in truth they were living together in a sinful union. Boniface drank heavily and lived in hedonism, yet he was also compassionate and generous to the poor.
His mistress Aglais heard stories of the Christian martyrs, and learning of their miracles, she desired to obtain one of their holy relics, thinking they had magical powers. Boniface agreed to find one, joking to her, "And what if they bring back my own body as a holy relic?" He went to Tarsus in Cilicia, where the persecutions were then taking place. His compassionate nature caused him to encourage the martyrs, and over time he was impressed by their faith.
Boniface was arrested for his dealings with the Christians, and he confessed faith in Christ. He was martyred together with them in the year 290. His sacred body was returned to Aglais, proving his joke to be a prophecy. For her part, Aglais also followed Christ, devoting herself to prayer and repentance.
Saint Boniface is commemorated on December 19. He is especially invoked as an intercessor for alcoholics.
This Russian icon was painted in the 19th century.
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