Boniface, by the way, is the inventor of the Christmas Tree


From the BBC:

According to one legend the famous Devon Saint, St Boniface, was the creator of the very first Christmas tree. In the early part of the 8th century, St Boniface was sent into Germany as a missionary, with an aim of converting the pagans to Christianity. St Boniface was later to become the patron saint of brewers, so sending him to beer loving Germany may well have been a masterful mission. He worked tirelessly in the country destroying idols and pagan temples across Germany and building churches in their place. He was named Archbishop of Mainz and founded or restored the diocese of Bavaria. It was on this trip, around the time of Winter Solstice, that he was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an old oak tree. Horrified by what he saw as blasphemy, the all-action St Boniface grabbed the nearest axe and hacked down the tree. As he did this he called to the pagans to see the power of his God over theirs. Pagan feelings were understandably mixed, but Boniface’s actions were obviously taken in good spirit, with some of the tales saying he converted the pagans on the spot. This is where the tale now divides. Some say St Boniface planted a fir tree there, but the most common idea is that a fir tree grew spontaneously in the oak’s place. The fir was seen as an image of God and many believed its evergreen symbolised the everlasting love of the Maker. According to the myth, the next year all the pagans in the area had been converted to Christianity and hung decorations from the tree to celebrate what they now called Christmas rather than Winter Solstice. The legend spread and soon Christmas trees became the norm in the newly converted Bavaria, and then spread out to become the tinsel strewn, electric lit, bauble hung festival we know today.

10 thoughts on “Boniface, by the way, is the inventor of the Christmas Tree

  1. Like all other things Boniface may have claimed as victories, I suspect this is bullshit…

    Saturnalia trees were around long before him, and are actually mentioned somewhere in the New Testament, if I am not mistaken…I think the people of Germania were likely carrying on that tradition alongside anything they might have already been doing in their own indigenous practices as far as decorating trees in honor of various Deities, including Stuffo and friends…!


  2. He didn’t invent the Yule Tree. Heathens were decorating trees outdoors for generations before this genocidal fucker came along and starting bashing shrines (with an army at his back to ensure compliance).

    Saying Boniface made Christmas trees is like that little goblin in “Nightmare on Christmas” running around droning: “Making christmas making christmas christmas time is here” while slaughtering people, destroying shrines, and being in general an unmitigated psychopathic dick.

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    “Hostile incursion” means fighting for their people and religion, and resisting the foreign imposition of Abrahamism. A common tactic of theirs is to always paint their opponents as irrationally inimical, while the Abrahamists are always innocent.

    “But a fierce quarrel that broke out between Charles, the prince and noble leader of the Franks, and Radbod, the king of the Frisians, as a result of a hostile incursion by the pagans, caused great disturbances among the population of both sides, and through the dispersion of the priests and the persecution of Radbod the greater part of the Christian churches, which previously had been subject to Frankish control, were laid waste and brought to ruin. Moreover, the pagan shrines were rebuilt and, what is worse, the worship of idols was restored. When the man of God perceived the wicked perversity of Radbod he came to Utrecht and, after waiting for a few days, spoke with the king, who had also gone there. And having traveled about the country and examined many parts of it to discover what possibility there might be of preaching the Gospel in future, he decided that if at any time he could see his way to approach the people he would minister to them the Word of God. On this purpose of his, his glorious martyrdom many years later set its seal.”

    This is near the end, after Boniface and his party were killed in Frisia:

    “As the unhappy tidings of the martyr’s death spread rapidly from village to village throughout the whole province and the Christians learned of their fate, a large avenging force, composed of warriors ready to take speedy retribution, was gathered together and rushed swiftly to their neighbors’ frontiers. The pagans, unable to withstand the onslaught of the Christians, immediately took to flight and were slaughtered in great numbers. In their flight they lost their lives, their household goods, and their children. So the Christians, after taking as their spoil the wives and children, men and maidservants of the pagan worshipers, returned to their homes. As a result, the pagans round about, dismayed at their recent misfortune and seeking to avoid everlasting punishment, opened their minds and hearts to the glory of the faith. Struck with terror at the visitation of God’s vengeance, they embraced after Boniface’s death the teaching they had rejected while he still lived.”

    Two telling passages. All of the churches in Frisia were under Frankish dominion. Understandable, they were only put there because of Frankish military power and money forcing the Frisians to allow them, as part of a treaty. Meaning these churches also collected tributes and tithes that went back to Francia, and a lot of that from there to Rome. Boniface was acting as an agent for Frankish and Papal power. He was killed with his attendants and guards in Frisia, where the people resisted this strongly. Frisia at the time had been struggling for decades against Francia and the Catholic church. Radbod(or Redbad) tried his best to keep Frisia free, he was the king that famously refused to convert when a Christian priest told him about his ancestors’ fate according to the false Christian doctrine. These passages are among those little bits of honesty that occasionally crop up in Christian writings. Though in their minds, even the slaughter and enslavement is fully justified. Anything to get those numbers up. When they do later write ups, they tend to downplay this sort of thing. You can read prosaic accounts in old chronicles of slaughter of “heathens”, and conversions by fire and sword, Christians betraying treaties and promises. Remember when the heathen inhabitants of the Isle of Wight were massacred? But the hagiographies usually show people just converting by magic.

    The BBC summary sounds like someone echoing Catholic propaganda. In Japan, the Jesuits, as soon as they had enough local power, encouraged attacks on shrines and temples. There was quite a bit of money and violence involved in the process, pay off merchants and lords to convert, trade contract and guns for cooperative lords, use force to threaten others, persecute the majority that are uninterested or opposed. But not a lot of “thousands of Japanese hearts were touched, multitudes converted miraculously”. That only happens in written propaganda, the reality is always more dirty and down to earth, things that Christianity likes to separate from itself. One guy doesn’t wander about a foreign country vandalizing their shrines and get away with it. And one guy doesn’t build churches by himself. That takes a lot of force and state support, which Boniface had.

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    1. exactly. and Boniface, the fucker, had the backing of Charles Martel and his army. You don’t hear about that in the hagiography but he didn’t desecrate tree shrines (i love how the fucking monotheists paint cutting down holy Irminsul trees as making christmas trees.) alone. The devout were corralled and held back by a god damned army.


      1. I can’t see Boniface inventing the Christmas tree either. That seems to be a later story to try and justify the existing custom by linking it to a famous name. Once any custom was accommodated, the church used a handy saint to link the practice to something Christian. People were putting up trees and decorating them in the ancient Near East and in Egypt, long before Judaism was invented, let alone Christianity. I doubt that anyone in particular invented the custom in Europe either.

        I posted that comment in the wrong place. It was meant for the other post. But it doesn’t matter, both posts are about Boniface. When I get to thinking about it, I tend to go overboard.

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    2. When they aren’t just fabricating incidents and numbers, they always start the story midway through, ignoring the provocations, attacks and politics that led up to it. And that doesn’t just apply to conflicts between ancient Pagans and Christians – you can see the same ploy at work today in coverage of Hindus or Buddhists vs Muslims in India and throughout Asia.

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