Saint Christopher Meaning: Christ-bearer
Memorial: 25 July
The popular and best known history of Saint Christopher is the
patron saint of travel and a number of other patronages. Surprisingly,
we know more about what St. Christopher is today than we know
about his life and death while here on earth. There is general
scholarly agreement that he died in the third century. His given
name was Offerus or Reprobus, no definite record. He is known
to have died a martyr of the faith after converting thousands
A writer named Jacobus de Voragine helps to fill the void in
the history of Saint Christopher. He wrote Golden Legend a collection
of wonder tales about the seasons of the year. There is speculation
that some were written by schoolboys in monasteries.
These tales were not to be taken as historical fact, just fiction
to make a point. Unfortunately, even today many people view this
as if it really happened.
Here is the St. Christopher biography according to that legend.
He was a Caanite that served his king, especially in matters requiring
strength. The tale has it that he was huge (possibly 18 feet?)
with an ugly face and an even uglier demeanor. During his service
to his king, he decided he was going to serve the greatest king
of all. He found that next supposed greatest of them all. During
his service to his new king, he saw the king make the sign of
the cross and flee the area in fear. St. Christopher found the
king's fear was fear of the mention, sign or presence of the devil,
so obviously this as not the greatest of all kings.
St. Christopher then sought out the devil and began serving him.
He did notice one day that the devil was afraid of the cross and
he feared Jesus Christ. Off he went to find this next possible
greatest king of them all. His search led him to a hermit, who
gave him knowledge of the Christian faith. Saint Christopher asked
the hermit how he could serve this greatest of all kings. There
was a dangerous river nearby that people had to cross. Many died
in the attempt. The hermit told St. Christopher that because of
his great size and strength, he should assist people to cross
and this would be pleasing to God, St. Christopher's new found
king. He assisted many travelers and he was happy in his service
to God. One evening outside his hut a little child all alone asked
if he would help in crossing. St. Christopher hoisted the child
upon his shoulders and started across. The river became turbulent
and the child became heavier with each step. He struggled across
with great difficulty and said to the child
"I do not
think the whole world could be as heavy on my shoulders as you
were." The child replied you had on your shoulders not only
the whole world but also him who made it. I am Christ your king.
Great tale enjoyed by many through the centuries.
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