Boniface (ca. 675-754) was born in England and educated at the Benedictine monastery in Exeter. He was a monk devoted to teaching, yet felt called to take the good news of Jesus to Germany, where earlier missionaries had little success. Boniface first went to Frisia (present day Netherlands) but met resistance. In 719 Boniface received a mission from Pope Gregory II to evangelize Bavaria and Hesse in Germany. He spent most of the rest of his life spreading the faith to the Germans.
Although Boniface tried to adapt Christianity to regional traditions and culture, he enthusiastically destroyed pagan temples and idols, then built churches on those sites. When he found a tribe who worshipped the Norse god, Thor, in a tree, he boldly took an axe and chopped down the tree in front of the stunned worshippers.
He was eventually named the archbishop of Mainz. When he was almost eighty, Boniface returned to Frisia, attempting to evangelize even the most hostile tribes. In 1754, his camp was attacked; Boniface and fifty-three others were murdered.
Boniface is one of the patron saints of Germany.