St. Christopher

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Though removed from the universal calendar in 1969, this feast may be celebrated locally. An early Christian martyr named Christopher ("Christ-bearer" in Greek) had a cult following in both the East and West. According to the Roman Martyrology, he was martyred in Lycia about 250. Early legends painted him as tall, fearsome and chaste in the face of an attempted seduction. Medieval legends added to the lore: He switched allegiance from the devil to Christ, becoming a Christian who helped travelers ford a river. He is often pictured carrying the Christ Child on his shoulders. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, Christopher is the patron saint of travelers and sailors who also in invoked against epidemics, pestilence and sudden death.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015