St. Christopher

St. Christopher is a popular saint, though little facts are known about him. It appears he may have been a 3rd century martyr, and the existence of a martyr named Christopher was revealed by a Jesuit, Nicholas Serarius, in his treatise on litanies and in a history of sacred pictures by Molanus. In addition, there is a small church dedicated to the martyr St. Christopher and St. Gregory the Great mentions a monastery of St. Christopher.

Legend has it that the prayers of a pagan king's wife were answered and she gave birth to a healthy son named Offerus. He grew in exceptional size and strength and endeavored to serve only the strongest and most courageous of masters. At first he served a heathen king, but soon realized he feared the devil. He then served the devil but realized he feared the symbol of the cross. He then decided to serve Christ and found an old abbot who baptized him, Christopher, or "Christ-bearer," and instructed him on how to serve God faithfully. From now on he would use his great physical strength to assist travellers crossing a treacherous river. One night a voice called him to service. When he arose, he saw it was a small child. As he carried Him across the raging waters, he felt his burden becoming heavier, as if the weigth of the whole world was upon his shoulders. When he spoke of this to the child, He answered that He was Christ and did carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. He also told Christopher that his service was pleasing to Him. Later, Christopher was put into prison for failing to worship the pagan gods, tortured and beheaded.

His statues have been placed at churches, home entranceways and bridges, "Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day." He is patron of Baden, Brunswick, Mecklenburg, and several other cities. Besides his patronage of travellers, he is invoked by bookbinders, gardeners, mariners and more. He is also invoked against lightning, storms, epilepsy and pestilence. St. Christopher is usually depicted with the Christ Child and staff. His feast day is July 25.