Let’s first get into St. Christopher the myth. He was supposedly born to a heathen King from the land of Canaan or possibly Arabia. St. Christopher, called Offerus, resolved to serve only the strongest and bravest. He was a man of extraordinary size and strength. Various sources describe him as having a stature of 7 1Ž2 to 12 feet tall. Although the date of St. Christopher’s birth is unknown, he died as a martyr in the 3rd century, after having converted thousands to Christianity.
According to the legend, St. Christopher served the new King until he saw the King make the sign of the cross and flee in fear at the mention of the devil. St. Christopher then sought out the devil and served him until he noticed that the devil feared the cross and Jesus. He continued to search for the greatest King and one day met a hermit, who told him about the Christian faith. The hermit told St. Christopher that because of his significant size he could please God by carrying people across a dangerous river. St. Christopher did so, in service to God. One day, he carried a child across the river and noticed that the child got heavier and heavier. The child told him that he was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders and the one who created that world. The child announced himself to St. Christopher as Christ, his King. That is how St. Christopher became the Patron Saint of travelers.
One of the most common St. Christopher medallions depicts the Saint carrying the Christ child on his shoulders across turbulent waters, with the words “Saint Christopher Protect Us.” People often wear medals as pendants in devotion to Saint Christopher and to invoke his blessing. St. Christopher is viewed as a Saint of protection, particularly for protection during travel and long voyages. Statues, medals and pictures of St. Christopher are often placed in vehicles (mostly on the dashboard) for protection against accidents. St. Christopher is also the Patron Saint of gardeners, sailors and transportation workers. He is invoked for protection against lightning, storms, pestilence, epilepsy and even toothaches! Not bad at all, a guardian angel who can do all of that… : ) Statues of St. Christopher were once placed in front of churches, dwellings and bridges. The statues bore inscriptions that said whoever looked upon the statue of St. Christopher would not faint or fall that day. Have you ever tried this out?Proclamation of Saints was once based on popular approval. A formal canonization process did not begin until the 15th century. Many martyrs were proclaimed Saints even though there was little historical evidence documenting their holiness, or even that they existed at all. In 1969, the Church reviewed the calendar of Saints and discovered that there was no evidence of existence for many of the Saints, including St. Christopher. As a result St. Christopher, among others, was dropped from the list. However, this action did little to dampen his popularity. Many followers of St. Christopher still invoke his blessings and protection as the Patron Saint of travel.
And so do we of course, carrying with a feeling of pride and confidence that beautiful little medallion on the dashboard of our cars. If you haven’t got one yet then you should absolutely get yourself one – just look at these two fine pieces of St. Christopher art.
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