Thursday, September 14, 2006

St Christopher Cynephoros

The Eastern Orthodox Church has not downgraded Saint Christopher, although his history is almost certainly fiction. He is sometimes depicted in art and iconography as having the head of a dog. According to the Eastern Orthodox, During the reign of the Emperor Decius, a man named Reprebus (or Reprobus) was captured in combat and was assigned to the "Unit of the Marmaritae". He was a giant and a cannibal said to have the head of a dog. Traditional Orthodox iconography depicts him as literally dog-headed. When Reprebus accepted baptism, he lost his dog head and became human in appearance. The governor of Antioch (or in some versions, the Emperor himself) decreed that Reprebus was to be executed for his faith. He miraculously survived many attempts at his life and "allowed" himself to be martyrdom after he had converted thousands of people.

According to the Roman Orthodox tradition, Saint Christopher was a giant whom carried the Christ Child across a river and was baptised by him. He was later beheaded by the local king.

Relics and the head of the Saint are being held on the island of Rab, Croatia. Saint Christopher is the patron of the island of Rab. When Normans tried to invade the islands and besieged the city, its inhabitants placed the saints relics on the city walls. As a miraculous result the winds changed and the bows and ships were blown away from the city.

Today, Saint Christopher has been demoted to a local commemoration (since many question the historical accuracy of his legend)
Despite this, Saint Christopher remains very popular among Roman Catholics. Medallions issued in his name are worn and frequently displayed in automobiles. (Our old Crown Victoria came with one glued to the dashboard.)

He holds patronage of things related to travel and travelers: people who carry things; against lightning; against pestilence; archers; automobile drivers; automobiles; bachelors; boatmen; bookbinders; bus and taxi drivers; epileptics; floods; fruit dealers; fullers; gardeners; hailstorms; holy death; lorry drivers; mariners; market carriers; motorists; porters; sailors; storms; sudden death; surfers; toothache; transportation; transportation workers; travellers, and watermen

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