Saint Christopher (Greek: Άγιος Χριστόφορος) is a saint venerated by Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, listed as a martyr killed in the reign of the 3rd century Roman Emperor Decius (reigned 249–251) or alternatively under the Roman Emperor Maximinus II Dacian (reigned 308–313). There appears to be confusion due to the similarity in names "Decius" and "Dacian".
The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates Saint Christopher on May 9. The Tridentine Calendar allowed a commemoration of Saint Christopher on 25 July only in private Masses. This restriction was lifted later (see General Roman Calendar as in 1954). Although the Roman Catholic Church still approves devotion to him, listing him in the Roman Martyrology among the saints venerated on 25 July, Pope Paul VI removed his feast day from the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis. At that time the church declared that this commemoration was not of Roman tradition, in view of the relatively late date (about 1550) and limited manner in which it was accepted into the Roman calendar, but his feast is still observed locally
Born July 25
Canaan (Western accounts) or Marmarica (Eastern accounts)
Died c. 251
Honored in Anglicanism
Feast 25 July (since 1967: 21 August) (West), 9 May (East)
Attributes tree, branch, as a giant or ogre, carrying Jesus, spear, shield, as a dog-headed man
Patronage bachelors, transportation (drivers, sailors, etc.), travelling (especially for long journeys), storms, Brunswick, Saint Christopher's Island (Saint Kitts), Island Rab, Vilnius, epilepsy, gardeners, holy death, toothache
The Fourteen Holy Helpers
Acacius Barbara Blaise Catherine of Alexandria Christopher Cyriacus Denis Elmo Eustace George Giles Margaret the Virgin Pantaleon Vitus
Saint Christopher, a 3rd century Christian venerated by Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, has been adapted to a number of settings in popular culture.
In William Saroyan's novel The Human Comedy, the saint appears symbolically as the character Big Chris. In one passage, Ulysses, a five-year-old boy, experiences a dream in which Big Chris carries him across a stream.
Saint Christopher is the patron saint of the Saltee Islands in Airman, a 2008 book by Eoin Colfer.
In the 1996 World War II film The Ogre, the main character Abel (played by John Malkovich), as a child in a flashback, wishes to Saint Christopher for his school to be burned down so that he can be free. Throughout the film, Abel is represented as Saint Christopher himself, because of his affinity with children, and rescues one from the Nazis in the final act.
In Robert Altman's 1978 science fiction film Quintet, a Latin-speaking gambler named Saint Christopher (Vittorio Gassman) rules over a future ice-age city.
In the 1996 The Green Mile (film), Melinda Moore gives John Coffey a necklace with Saint Christopher on it after he cured her tumor. She says to wear it and it will protect him.
In the 2004 film "Crash" (Dir. by Paul Haggis), Peter (played by Larenz Tate) places a sticky-cup-bottom statue of St. Cristopher on the dashboard of every car he steals with his partner Anthony (played by Ludacris).
In an episode during the seventh season of Smallville, Three Kryptonian symbols (Traveller, Savior and Sanctuary) were translated by Clark and Chloe to mean the (fictional) Saint Christopher Church in Montreal.
In the second verse of the song The Risen Lord from his 1988 album Flying Colours, singer Chris De Burgh sings a version of Saint Christopher's meeting with the Christ child at the river.
Dennis DeYoung of the rock band Styx wrote the song "Christopher, Mr. Christopher" for Styx's 1974 album Man of Miracles. The song reflects fondly of the story of Saint Christopher and laments the perceived downgrade of Saint Christopher's status in 1969; in DeYoung's words, "So when they took that saint away, all that's left were her fears".
Tom Waits wrote the song "Hang on St. Christopher", released on the album Franks Wild Years in 1987, in which he implores Saint Christopher to watch over him as he pushes his hot-rod cars and motorcycles to their limits. He also refers to the saint in the song "Tom Traubert's Blues": "I've lost my St. Christopher, Now that I've kissed her."
The band Fosca released a song entitled "Letter to Saint Christopher" on their 2002 album Diary of an Antibody. In it, the protagonist asks Saint Christopher if he will "ever reach point B", using the story of Christopher and the young child's journey across the river as a metaphor for moving on from an unhappy life.
The second song on Jamie T's new EP, Sticks 'N' Stones, is called Saint Christopher and features the lyrics "She's never alone, as long as St Christopher's here."
The Mars Volta's song A Zed and Two Naughts features Saint Christopher in its lyrics, related to his patronage of transportation.
Saint Christopher Medals and other likenesses
In Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, the narrator gives Holly Golightly a St. Christopher's medal for Christmas, "[b]ut at least it came from Tiffany's."
In Stephen King's novel The Green Mile, the protagonist John Coffey, a giant African-American with healing ability, is given a Saint Christopher medal after healing a woman.
In Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, in the General Prologue, the Knight's Yeoman is described as wearing "A Cristopher on his breast of silver sheen."
In Barbara Kingsolver's first novel, The Bean Trees, a Guatemalan refugee, Esperanza, wears a Saint Christopher pendant and calls him the patron saint of refugees. She later gives the pendant to a three year old orphaned girl named Turtle.
In the third Nikki Heat novel, "Heat Rises," Jameson Rook wears a St. Christopher medal that he is given by Faustino Velez Arango when he finds Nikki near the end.
In the 1957 movie The Spirit of St. Louis, (1957), Charles Lindbergh (played by James Stewart) is given a St Christopher medal before his big flight, which he refuses to accept in order to save every unnecessary ounce of weight. His friend instead hides the medal in the aircraft, to make sure that the saint would be with him for the long and dangerous trip.
In the 2010 movie, The Book of Eli, Eli (Denzel Washington) wears a Saint Christopher pendant on a chain.
In the film The Machinist, Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is often be shown wearing a St. Christopher medal.
In the 2003 movie Cowboys & Angels, Shane Butler (Michael Legge) is given a Saint Christopher pendant by his mother just before leaving his parent's home for the first time. He later gives the pendant to his friend, Vincent.
In the 2004 movie Crash, Peter Waters (Larenz Tate) carries around a pocket sized statue of Saint Christopher. Waters hitches a ride from police officer Tom Hansen (played by Ryan Phillippe) who has the same statue figure on his dashboard. When Hansen laughs at the thought that Waters has one too, and Waters reaches to pull his statue from his pocket, the cop suspects a gun and shoots him. When Hansen approaches the dead man's body, he discovers the statue in his hand, not a gun.
In the 2004 movie The Butterfly Effect, the story's main character, Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) is seen wearing a Saint Christopher pendant throughout the entire movie in each stage of his life.
In the 1974 movie Murder on the Orient Express, the Swedish missionary Greta Ohlsson (Ingrid Bergman) wears a Saint Christopher medallion, the apparent loss of which causes her to panic before boarding the train in Istanbul, although she finds it shortly afterward.
In the movie Airplane!, a St. Christopher statue sits on top of the glare shield in the cockpit, and hides its face as the situation aboard the aircraft deteriorates.
In the 2006 film The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Sinéad gives Damian her brother Michaels St Christopher Medal after he was executed by the Black and Tans. Damian returns the Medal to Sinéad with his final letter to her the night before he is executed.
In an episode of the 4th season of the popular show Cheers, regular patron Norm Peterson takes a small St. Christopher statue out of his breast pocket and says he "just need[s] a little religion." Bartender Woody Boyd is impressed with Norm's sudden piety, until Norm removes the statue's head and takes a swig of alcohol from it. The live studio audience laughs.
In the episode entitled "Would You Want Me to Tell You?" (1.5) of the 2007 show Saving Grace, Grace mentions that her husband carries around a St. Christopher's medal for good luck while he drives his tractor trailer. She says that if she wanted to hurt him she would steal the medal just before a "long haul".
In the TV series Bones, FBI Agent Seeley Booth always wears a St. Christopher's medal around his neck.
On the HBO television series The Sopranos mafioso Christopher Moltisanti wears a gold St. Christopher's medal on a necklace around his neck, along with a crucifix, throughout the series. Also, his surname literally means in Italian "many saints" and he mentioned more than once that he was named after St. Christopher by his devoutly Catholic mother.
During the Beatles’ visit to New York in August 1964, a fan named Angie McGowan grabbed a St. Christopher's medal from the neck of drummer Ringo Starr. McGowan later returned the medal in a much-publicized event
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature.
The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or belief system, but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviors, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural), and/or scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.
The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures. Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group. In many places religion has been associated with public institutions such as education, hospitals, the family, government, and political hierarchies. Anthropologists John Monoghan and Peter Just state that, "it seems apparent that one thing religion or belief helps us do is deal with problems of human life that are significant, persistent, and intolerable. One important way in which religious beliefs accomplish this is by providing a set of ideas about how and why the world is put together that allows people to accommodate anxieties and deal with misfortune."
Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.
Four largest religions Adherents % of world population Article[circular reference]
World population 6.99 billion Figures taken from individual articles:
Christianity 2.1 billion – 2.2 billion 33% – 34% Christianity by country
Islam 1.5 billion – 1.6 billion 22% – 23% Islam by country
Buddhism 500 million – 1.9 billion 7% – 29% Buddhism by country
Hinduism 1.0 billion – 1.1 billion 15.2% – 16.2% Hinduism by country
Total 5.1 billion – 6.8 billion 77% – 99%
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