Hi, kids! Did you know that St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, was believed to be a giant? He is said to be incredibly large—as tall as 7.5 feet—and fearsome! Today, we’re going to tell you about how he went from serving the most evil of men to doing good deeds for Jesus. Read on!
Very little is known about St. Christopher, but the tale about him goes as far back as the 13th century! It is believed that he was born in Canaan or Arabia to a pagan king and his Christian wife, who prayed to the Blessed Virgin for a son. The king named the boy Offerus (Reprobus in some texts) and he grew up to be incredibly large and fearsome.
Also Read: The Story of St. Valentine
Servant of Power
Aware of his strength, Offerus made a vow to serve only the strongest and bravest ruler in the world. So he went on a journey and met a mighty king whom he served for many years. However, Offerus realized that the king was not as powerful as he had first thought—it turns out that the all-powerful king was afraid of the devil! Disappointed, the giant left the king’s service and began searching for this much-feared devil.
Offerus met a man who called himself The Devil and began serving him. One day, the two came upon a cross on the roadside. The Devil quaked with fear, and took a long detour to avoid it. Curious, Offerus demanded to know why, until The Devil finally told him about Christ, how He was crucified, and how the cross filled him, The Devil, with fear. At that moment, Offerus knew that there was an even more powerful being than The Devil, so he abandoned his master and sought out Christ.
The Search for Christ
Offerus searched for a long time, but he wasn’t able to find Christ. On his journey, he met a hermit who said that Offerus first had to make himself worthy of meeting Christ if he wanted to serve Him. The hermit, Babylas, taught Offerus the Faith and baptized him “Christopher,” which means “the bearer of Christ.” From that time on, Christopher began to serve Christ in his own way. He used his immense strength and towering stature to ferry people across a deep and turbulent river—stories say that he was so tall the water never reached above his chest!
The Weight of the World
One stormy night, a small child knocked on Christopher’s door, asking for help in crossing the river. Feeling sorry for the child, Christopher agreed. As soon as he stepped into the river, the young boy, perched on Christopher’s shoulder, became so heavy that the giant began to struggle, bowed down by the load. It felt as if he was carrying the weight of the entire world on his shoulders! When they got to the other side, Christopher, bewildered and almost on the brink of collapse, asked the boy who he was.
The child responded, “Don’t be surprised, Christopher! You were not only carrying the whole world, you had Him who created the world upon your shoulders! I am Christ your King, to whom you render service by doing the work you do here.”
Aside from being the patron saint of travelers, St. Christopher is also patron saint of sailors, athletes, bus drivers, and road builders, among others. And his story calls for everyone—even young boys and girls like you—to become bearers of Jesus in their hearts and actions.