5 June 2020 (MIA)
Macedonian Orthodox Church Calendar
St. Michael of Synnada
Michael of Synnada (Michael the Confessor) (died 818) was a bishop of Synnada from 784. He represented Byzantium in diplomatic missions to Harun al-Rashid and Charlemagne. He was exiled by Emperor Leo V the Armenian because of his opposition to iconoclasm. Honored by the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, his feast day is May 23. Michael was much influenced by Patriarch Tarasios of Constantinople, who sent him to a monastery on the coast of the Black Sea. An associate of Saint Theophylact of Nicomedia, once during a harvest in a time of drought, they caused rainfall through their prayers. Patriarch Tarasius consecrated Michael Bishop of the city of Synnada. He was present at the Seventh Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 787. At the request of the Emperor, he visited Caliph Harun al-Rashid to conduct peace negotiations. He also carried out diplomatic missions for Byzantium at the court of Charlemagne. He clashed with the Emperor Leo the Armenian over Leo’s policy of iconoclasm, and was exiled, where he died on 23 May, 826, in want and poverty, faithful to Orthodoxy to the end.
St. Boniface of Mainz
In the pope’s commission on May 15, 1719, we have the first record of Winfrith’s new name, Boniface. The pope apparently gave him this new name because the previous day had been the feast of a martyr by that name. From then on he was known as Boniface to all who knew him. Missionaries had come to Thuringia before but the Church there was in bad shape, isolated and subject to superstition and heresy. Boniface saw that he was going to get no help from the local clergy and monks, but he had learned in Friesland he could not spread God’s word alone. He was about to send for help when he heard that Radbod had died and the missionary Willibrord was back in Friesland. Boniface immediately took off for Friesland, the site of his former humiliation. Perhaps he returned in hopes of redeeming his earlier disaster. It seems more likely, however, that he was following through on the lesson he had learned at that time and was going to get training from the expert in missions: Willibrord. In the three years he spent with Willibrord, Boniface gave as much as he gained. So helpful was he that Willibrord, who was in his sixties, wanted to make Boniface his successor. But with his training over, Boniface felt the pull of the German missionary work he’d left behind, and, despite Willibrord’s please, went to Hesse. Unlike Thuringia or Friesland, Hesse had never been evangelised. Boniface had to start from scratch. Needing even more authority in dealing with chieftains who were his first goal for converts, he appealed to the pope again. During a trip to Rome, the pope consecrated Boniface bishop. Boniface returned to find that his problems had worsened. Christianity attracted people but unable to give up their old religion and superstitions, perhaps out of fear of being different or of how their old “gods” would react. Knowing that the people needed a reason to let go Boniface called the tribes to a display of power. As the people watched, Boniface approached the giant oak of Geismar, a sacred tree dedicated to Thor, with an axe. Some of the people must have trembled with each stroke of his axe, but nothing happened. Finally with a crack, the tree split in four parts that we are told fell to the ground in the shape of a cross. There stood Boniface, axe in hand, unharmed by their old gods, strong in the power of the one God.