Saint Christopher (Christ-bearer) is a Catholic martyr who once carried Jesus across a raging river. He is the patron saint of safe travels, bachelors, transportation, storms, epilepsy, gardeners, holy death, and toothache.
Who Was Saint Christopher?
Saint Christopher was originally named named Reprobus. He lived in the third century AD, was tall and strong, almost to giant stature.
Reprobus was determined to find and serve the greatest master in the world.
His search took him to many places, and he served under great kings.
But one day the king he served under made the Sign of the Cross when the devil was mentioned, indicating that the devil was more powerful than he.
The devil appeared to St Christopher and convinced the saint that he was the greatest master, so St Christopher followed him for a time.
But while following the devil, a Cross was by the road, and the devil avoided it fearfully. St Christopher realized that whoever was represented by the Cross was more powerful than the devil.
St Christopher went to a deserted place and found an old hermit who told him of the greatest master, the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
The hermit had St Christopher pray and fast, and to offer his life in service to others, by helping them cross a dangerous river nearby.
The story goes that, one day, a small child came to St Christopher’s hut and asked for passage across the river.
St Christopher thought nothing of it and began carrying the child across.
But midway over the river, the child became heavier and heavier, and the river began to rage.
St Christopher bent under the tremendous weight of the child and held strong against the river’s power. He made it to the other side, gasping and falling to the ground.
The child stood smiling next to St Christopher, and when St Christopher asked how he could become so heavy, the child revealed that He was Jesus Christ, and that St Christopher, in carrying Him, was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Then the child disappeared, and St Christopher understood the great privilege that God had given him, after his life of prayer and fasting and service.
St Christopher went on to travel widely and become a great evangelist. He was arrested in Lycia and the officials demanded he make a sacrifice to the Roman Emperor.
St Christopher refused, and after more temptations he was beheaded.
It was not until the 600s that St Christopher became popular, with numerous churches being named after him.
In 1970 the Church removed his commemoration from the new calendar, but he is still considered a saint and venerated as such.