at prayer

St. Christopher
St Christopher
Feast Day 10 July: Biniali, S'Arenal.
Martyr c. 250

Myths and legends abound. One of them relates that he was an enormous strong man who was converted to Christianity by a hermit who lived by a dangerous river. The hermit guided people to places where it was safe to cross. As Christopher was so strong he was able to carry people across on his shoulders.

One day he took over a small child whose weight was such that he was almost crushed and was staggering when he reached the other side. There, the child told him He was Jesus and He was carrying the weight of the world on His shoulders. His name is generally considered to mean “Christ-bearer” but it can also describe one who “takes up the Cross”.

He is often shown with the head of a dog. This arose from the belief that he was from a frontier tribe. Rather like the “here be dragons” of early maps, people on the far-flung borders of the Roman Empire were thought to have the heads of dogs and eat human flesh. Perhaps it was just that he had the misfortune to be very ugly?

Said to be a martyr and to have died during the persecutions of Decius, there is nowhere that claims his tomb nor are there any relics. He was deleted as an official Roman Catholic Saint in 1969 although he is still indelibly linked with travel.