About Saint Christopher

There was a martyr named Christopher who was beheaded in Lycia, in the time of the Emperor Decius (249-251). This is all we know of him. His name, however, has been invoked by Christians everywhere as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, whose intercession is especially powerful.

The legend that has grown up about the name is familiar. A giant of a man he was, originally called Reprobus, and determined to serve the mightiest king on earth. When the king he chose to serve showed fear of the devil, he left him and sought out Satan. Satan showed fear at the sign of the cross, however, and leaving him, Reprobus sought Christ.

He vowed for the love of Christ to carry travelers on his strong shoulders across a dangerous river. One night, being awakened by a child's voice calling his name, Reprobus hastened to his task. Suddenly, in the midst of the surging waters, the giant who had never stooped beneath the heaviest of weights, was bent down under the burden of this child, grown heavier than the world itself. " Be not astonished," said the mysterious child, " you bear Him who bears the world." He then disappeared, blessing his carrier and naming him Christopher, "Christ-bearer."

Christopher is the patron of travelers and is invoked against perils from water, tempests, and plagues.

From the Lives of the Saints Copyright 1959 by The Catholic Press