CATHOLIC PATRON SAINT OF TRAVEL SAFETY
The one-time Catholic patron saint of travellers, Saint
Christopher -- whose name means "Christ carrier" -- is not
mentioned in the Bible. While there may have been a 3rd century
Greek martyr named Christopher, the story told of him is now
generally acknowledged to be a 12th century addendum to the
Christian canon. Christopher is typically depicted as a tall,
middle-aged, bearded man with a staff who wades across a river
carrying the Christ child on his shoulders. As the story goes,
the extremely robust Christopher devoted his life to carrying
people across an otherwise unfordable stream. One day a little
child appeared before him and asked to be carried across. To
Christopher's surprise, as he forded the river, the child
steadily increased in weight until Christopher found his tiny
burden so heavy that it was amost impossible to bear. When he
asked the holy babe why he weighed so much, the child replied
that he carried the world's sins upon his shoulders. As a reward
for his service, Christopher's staff was miraculously transformed
into a living tree, and Christopher himself became
the Patron Saint
Christopher was a widely popular saint, and was especially
revered by mariners, ferrymen, and travellers. HIs feast day was
July 25th, except in Greece, where it was celebrated on March
9th. In modern times a major center of his cult was in Italy and
among Italian-Americans, a fact that did not stop the Vatican
from de-canonizing him during a late 20th century purge of the
list of saints. Saint Christopher medals and holy cards are more
difficult to find now that his status has been downgraded to that
of a mere legend, but they are still being manufactured and many
Mexican and Italian Catholics still believe that his image is the best amulet to
carry in one's wallet, wear on a necklace while on a journey, or
hang from the rear view mirror attachment of one's car. The enamel
and silver Saint Christopher medal shown here dates from the 1930s.
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Order Saint Christopher Vigil Light Candles from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
copyright © 1995-2003 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
Send your comments to: cat yronwode.
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