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ST. CHRISTOPHER -- Feast Day July 25th

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St. Christopher is a saint found on church calendars in July. He has been revered since about the 7th century, when his name began to be used to name monasteries and churches. His statues were seen at entryways to homes and churches and bridges, as a sign of divine protection. However, his history (of a life lived 3 centuries previous to his original popularity) is sketchy. Additionally, many legends have grown up around his biography. We will attempt to unravel some of the mystery.

There is general agreement that he died as a martyr, under a Roman emperor—some reports naming the year 251 A.D. and the city as Antioch. Christopher is thought to have been born in North Africa, and his name was not originally “Christopher”—which means “Christ-bearer”— but Offro (or Reprebus).

Whether he got the name “Christopher” from the more spiritual sense of “bearing Christ in the heart,” or from a legend depicting him physically carrying the Christ child… is uncertain. But we will briefly relate the story here.

The anecdote that is often told refers to his carrying Christ on his shoulders over a roaring river. Christopher had been seeking in life to serve whatever king had the most power. Each time he found a ruler, he realized that someone else was greater. He eventually found that the power of the cross was the greatest power of all--and Jesus Christ the greatest King of all. He discovered a hermit who led him to commit his life to Christ, whom he then desired to serve by helping others.

The best and most fitting way Christopher could find to serve others for Christ, considering his very tall size and great strength, was to transport people across a rapidly moving river. One time, it was a child whom he ferried across. The child became heavier and heavier as Christopher carried him.

On the other side—having barely succeeded in his task—he questioned the child… Who ended up being the Child, Jesus Christ. Jesus told him that, in carrying Him, he was also increasingly feeling the weight of the burden of the sins of the world that Jesus had carried and born for us.

What remains in the hearts of many Christians is the belief in Christopher’s existence, his martyrdom, and the answered prayers through his intercession, even though some specific details of his life— and, therefore, full official church recognition—are lacking.

Many still pray and seek the intercession of this much beloved saint. The image of carrying the Christ Child across the dangerous river is an illustration often seen depicting St. Christopher in the form of a picture, statue, or medal. It is no surprise that he is widely revered as a patron of travelers… and also of all kinds of transportation modes, storms and danger.

This blog is taken from the original blog published by Kathy Boh on July 21, 2016 and July 20, 2018 on this blog site, trinitychurchsupply.com/blog.

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