Saint Christopher is one of the most popular Catholic Christian heroes of the Faith. He is a saint, indeed listed as a martyr. He may have also been named Reprobus. He apparently died under the Roman Emperor Decius, in 251 AD. Most Catholics refer to him as Saint Christopher anyway, and his medals and the popular devotions to him are among the most common in Catholic piety.
Other than his listing as a martyr, there are no primary sources referring to St. Christopher, only stories and traditions which have been passed down.
According to these accounts, St. Christopher was extremely tall, and by some accounts he was even a giant! He was surely a man of significant physical stature. But, more importantly, he was a spiritual giant and a sure model and inspiration for the Christian faithful.
Christopher decided one day that he wanted to serve the greatest king he could. He presented himself before his local ruler and entered service, until he noticed the king cross himself at the mention of the devil, revealing that the king believed the Devil to have more power.
St. Christopher then decided to serve the Devil. During his search, he encountered a band of thieves, whose leader referred to himself as the Devil. But when this leader avoided a Christian cross out of fear, St. Christopher learned there was someone even more powerful than the Devil.
St. Christopher found a hermit who taught him all about Christ, the King of Kings. The hermit suggested that he spend his life in prayer and fasting, a thing which St. Christopher, a large and probably often hungry man found difficult, he objected. The hermit suggested he then find something else that would please Christ. St. Christopher offered to work at a nearby river, and help travelers across. The fording was dangerous and many with less strength people had drowned. The hermit advised St. Christopher this would please Christ.
One day, a child approached St. Christopher by the river and asked to be helped across. St. Christopher obliged. However, as he entered midstream, the river rose and the child's weight grew and became extremely heavy. It was only by great exertion that St. Christopher safely delivered the child to the other side.
When St. Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child explained that He was the Christ and when St. Christopher carried Him, he also carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. The child then vanished.
Other legends state that St. Christopher traveled after this experience and evangelized thousands of people. Arriving in Lycia in Asia Minor, and witnessing to Christians there who were being martyred. At that time, St. Christopher was detained and ordered to offer a sacrifice to the emperor. When he refused, it was decided to attempt to persuade him with money and women. Two women were sent to seduce him, but instead he converted them to Christianity.
After this, it was decided to have him killed, but various attempts to assassinate him failed. Eventually, he was arrested and beheaded.
The name "Christopher" means Christ-bearer, and may allude to the legend of the man carrying the Christ Child across the river. Saint Christopher also did not become popularized in the Church until the 7th century, about three centuries after his supposed death. We know of his popularity because around the 7th century, churches and monasteries began to be named after him. This adds credibility to the supposition that St. Christopher was merely a legendary figure and not a real person.
There is also speculation that St. Christopher could have also been confused with St. Menas, an Egyptian saint. Both Christopher and Menas are referred to as "Christ bearers" and are patrons of travelers.
St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and of children. His feast day is July 25. Because he is not officially recognized by the Church, he has no date of beatification or canonization. Despite these technicalities, it is widely thought that he was real and that he continues to intercede on behalf of Christians, especially children, today.
Saint Feast Days by Month
Founder and mystic, one of the first Servants of Mary or Servites. The son of a wealthy merchant in Florence, Italy, Alexis and six companions joined the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin in ... continue readingMore Saint of the Day
Mary, also known as St. Mary the Virgin, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Mary, Mary Mother of God or the Virgin Mary is believed by many to be the greatest of all Christian saints. The Virgin Mother "was, after her Son, exalted by divine grace above all angels and ... continue readingMore Female Saints
Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title "Archangel" means, that he is above all the others in rank. St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we ... continue reading
St. Gabriel is an angel who serves as a messenger for God to certain people. He is one of the three archangels. Gabriel is mentioned in both the Old and the New Testaments of the Bible. First, in the Old Testament, Gabriel appears to the prophet Daniel to explain his ... continue reading
As a young lay woman in Coesfeld, Germany, Anne Catherine Emmerick, employed as a seamstress, daily attended Mass, visited the Blessed Sacrament, and in the late evening spent hour upon hour praying on her knees. Around midnight, she would leave her home to make the ... continue reading
By Mary Rezac (CNA NEWS)
Billy the Kid, a notorious bank and stage-coach robber of the Wild West, met his match in the most unlikely of people when he met Sister Blandina Segale. Santa Fe, N.M. (CNA/EWTN News) - According to legend, and to Sr. Blandina's journal and letters, one of Billy the ... continue readingMore Christian Saints & Heroes
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Sunday, February 18, 2018
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the First Week of Lent - Day 5
- St. Simon: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 18, 2018
- 'Living Lent': Tuesday of the First Week of Lent - Day 6
- Try this fun Lent Quiz today!
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 HD Video
- Deadly Flu Season: Vaccine only 36 percent effective during worst ...
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, February 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, February 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, February 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education