St. Christopher is one of the most popular saints of
the East and West. There are many legend
concerning this saint. One of the most popular legends
holds that he found a hermit who told him to offer his
allegiance to Christ, instructed him in the Faith,
baptized him and he was given the name Christopher
(Christ-bearer). He would not promise to do any
fasting or praying, but willingly accepted the task of
carrying people, for God’s sake, across a raging
stream. One day he was carrying a child who
continually grew heavier, so that it seemed to him as
if he had the whole world on his shoulders. The child,
on inquiry, made himself known as the Creator and
Redeemer of the world. To prove his statement the
child ordered Christopher to fix his staff in the
ground. The next morning it had grown into a palmtree bearing fruit. The miracle converted many. This
excited the rage of the king (prefect) of that region.
Christopher was put into prison and after many cruel
torments, beheaded.
This Greek legend may belong to the sixth century;
about the middle of the ninth, we find it spread
through France. Originally, St. Christopher was only a
martyr, and as such is recorded in the old
martyrologies…The fact that he was frequently called
a great martyr may have given rise to the story of his
enormous size. The stream and the weight of the child
may have been intended to denote the trials and
struggles of a soul taking upon itself the yoke of
Christ in this world.