St. Christopher: The Story Behind the Patron Saint for Travelers
A giant who carried Christ and the world upon his back across the river – who is he? The name of Saint Christopher emerges in many legends and stories, with the river-crossing story being the most deciding for his image in Christianity. These days, he is considered one of the most popular Christian saints among different denominations, even though his existence as a historical figure remains in question. Many know him as the patron saint for travelers, safe paths, and protection. Due to his symbolic role, many churches place his images or statues at the most noticeable locations within a building.
The story behind the patron saint for travelers
Saint Christopher is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers and a martyr killed under the reign of the Roman emperor Decius in the 3rd century. There are several old legends telling about his origin. The most famous one says that his original name was Reprobus and he was born in the land of Canaan, modern-day Israel. Once, the boy was looking for a master, and he aimed to find Christ. After that, one hermit converted him to Christianity.
Christopher couldn’t serve the Lord with fasting and prayer, so it was decided that he would help people cross a dangerous river where they often lost their lives. According to the legend, the saint for travelers was a giant, so it was easy for him to take people from one bank to another. Once he needed to carry a child, and yet it was so difficult for him to reach the other side that he compared the burden with the weight of the world. The child was Jesus Christ who said that Christopher had the whole world on his shoulder and Him who made it. Maybe that is why the name Christopher means a “bearer of Christ” in Greek.
St. Christopher, one of the most popular Christian saints nowadays
Christopher is a patron saint for travelers, athletes, bachelors, drivers, and mariners. He is also the symbol of protection against pestilence, lightning, epilepsy, floods, and even toothache, not to mention the fact that his name is associated with more than 15 towns and cities around the world.
So powerful is the veneration of the saint for travelers nowadays that many people tend to wear devotional medals with St. Christopher’s name and image. More than that, there are special miniature statues for automobiles and holy cards that are meant to protect their bearers. If you plan to make a long journey, Saint Christopher is the right saint to pray with.