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Who was St.Christopher? Was he Real or a Fabrication?

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posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 12:20 AM
According to several "governing bodies" of religion St.Christopher is was a man that was Martyred in sometime in under the reign of Decius, which was approx. (249-251)

Called the "patron saint of travel" by some or even Reprobus... St.Christopher has many stories associated with him, as well as many differences in perspectives. Some sources say he was "fearsom" looking, and some even go so far as to call him "dog faced"... while others say he was very handsom.

Heres an interesting "tale" about him...

St Christopher was a man of great stature and unusual strength. According to tradition, St Christopher was very handsome, but wishing to avoid temptation for himself and others, he asked the Lord to give him an unattractive face, which was done. Before Baptism he was named Reprebus [Reprobate] because his disfigured appearance. Even before Baptism, Reprebus confessed his faith in Christ and denounced those who persecuted Christians. Consequently, a certain Bacchus gave him a beating, which he endured with humility.

This of course is just all the earliest surviving accounts of his martyrdom, both Greek and Latin, according to which he came from a land of cannibals and dog-headed peoples. The Greek tradition came to interpret this passage absolutely literally, and this is why Byzantine icons often depicted St. Christopher with a dog's head.

The Latin tradition developed along different lines, however, since early Latin translations did not always render a literal translation of the original Greek term "dog-headed" (kunokephalos), and some seem to have translated it as "dog-like" (canineus). This was amended to read "Canaanite" (Cananeus) as time progressed since it was obvious that he could not really have been "dog-like".

The strangest of these stories claim he was 18 feet tall and very strong... which is interesting considering many paintings depict him as a rather large man... sometimes carrying an infantile Jesus... and of course the idea of Giants has been around since biblical times. Another story tells of him jamming his staff into the ground and it becomming a tree.

This is the usual story associated with this saint...

Christopher was a Canaanite 5 cubits (7.5 feet (2.3 m)) tall and with a fearsome face. While serving the king of Canaan, he took it into his head to go and serve "the greatest king there was". He went to the king who was reputed to be the greatest, but one day he saw the king cross himself at the mention of the devil. On thus learning that the king feared the devil, he departed to look for the devil. He came across a band of marauders, one of whom declared himself to be the devil, so Christopher decided to serve him. But when he saw his new master avoid a wayside cross and found out that the devil feared Christ, he left him and enquired from people where to find Christ. He met a hermit who instructed him in the Christian faith. Christopher asked him how he could serve Christ. When the hermit suggested fasting and prayer, Christopher replied that he was unable to perform that service. The hermit then suggested that because of his size and strength Christopher could serve Christ by assisting people to cross a dangerous river, where they were perishing in the attempt. The hermit promised that this service would be pleasing to Christ.

After Christopher had performed this service for some time, a little child asked him to take him across the river. During the crossing, the river became swollen and the child seemed as heavy as lead, so much that Christopher could scarcely carry him and found himself in great difficulty. When he finally reached the other side, he said to the child: "You have put me in the greatest danger. I do not think the whole world could have been as heavy on my shoulders as you were." The child replied: "You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but Him who made it. I am Christ your king, whom you are serving by this work." The child then vanished.

First thing that struck me was him carrying an infant Jesus across a river...

According to any historical or biblical texts that i've found, this encounter didn't happen... So i decided to dig a little deeper. His myth is associated with Saint Menas, an Egyptian Martyr who was part of a military unit in North both the earliest Greek and Latin texts there is a story of how St. Christopher was captured in a war and forced to serve in a this military unit

the numerus Marmaritarum, to give a Latin translation, or "The Unit of the Marmaritae" in English. The Marmaritae were a north African people from the region of modern Libya which the ancients knew as Marmarica. This information is extremly important because there was only ever one military unit which included the name of this people among its titles. This was a unit whose name has been otherwise preserved only by a late Roman document composed , the Notititia Dignitatum. This mentions a Cohors Tertia Valeria Marmaritarum ("The Third Valerian Cohort of the Marmaritae") which served under the military commander of the late Roman provinces of both Syria and Syria Euphratensis.4 The title Valeria shows that it was the emperor Diocletian (284-305), whose full name was Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, who had recruited this unit. The fact that Christopher was martyred in Syria and that the Cohors Tertia Valeria Marmaritarum served in Syria confirms that this was the unit into which Christopher is alleged to have been conscripted. This proves that Christopher cannot have been martyred before 284.

This idea which is known to scholars ruins the claim that St.Christopher of Lycea was martyred in the mid second century as the orthodox church claims. Also considering bishop Babylas of Antioch was supposedly the one who baptized St.Christopher, yet he IS mentioned in Foxes Book of martyrs as being beheaded in 251. Which also lays waste to the churches claim. Early texts record Peter of Alexandria actually baptized him.

According to Foxes book of Martyrs written sometime between (1516-1587) No one with the name Christopher, Reprobus, Offero or Menas was documented as being Martyred in the reign of Decius.. unless of course his death wasn't documented, but i would assume someone of this persons size/strength and the "miracles" he performed would have been mentioned. Futhermore, looking through the reign of Diocletianus, no one bareing those names was martyred either. Clearly this is because he was NOT known by these names.

Christopher was an honorary name, meaning "barer of Christ"... and the original name we find "Reprobus" which was the name this person had before his "baptism" could have been a corupted Latin term meaning "wicked"...Considering both names seem to detail a "wicked" man turning to Christ, its possible the orignal name of this "saint" was lost to history, though there exists an inscription commemorating the dedication of a Church of St. Christopher in Bithynia in 452. Apparently his orignal name was lost before this time.

Many religons say a prayer to St.Christopher and even dedicate a "feast" to him... but are these based on a man that didn't exist?

Early texts record a soldier that was martyred because of his faith... but the difference between this soldier and the man who was "sainted" is vast.

Dare i say, incorrect

The Cult of St.Christopher

The Martyrs of Religion

edit on 6-3-2012 by Akragon because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 12:27 AM
Thanks for that. I learned something today.

An 18-ft-tall travel guardian is not necessarily a bad thing...

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 12:58 AM
Cool thread.

I wonder if we can trace him back further to Babylon or Sumerian 'religion'.
edit on 6-3-2012 by theubermensch because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 01:32 PM

Originally posted by theubermensch
Cool thread.

I wonder if we can trace him back further to Babylon or Sumerian 'religion'.
edit on 6-3-2012 by theubermensch because: (no reason given)

im more interested in what christians think about their saint then the origins of someone that may not have existed in the first place.

Im also wondering if St.Christophers feast has any pagan roots...

And im supprized no one has had any issues with this thread thus far...

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 01:44 PM

Originally posted by Akragon
And im supprized no one has had any issues with this thread thus far...

You'll find that non-Catholic Christians can be fairly relaxed about the idea that a Catholic saint is unhistorical.
If you were hoping to annoy Christians in general, the gun has misfired.
edit on 6-3-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 01:50 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

I don't want to annoy anyone, but if it happens... its all in good fun.

So you're saying he is "strictly" Catholic? I did notice that actually... but the point wasn't to annoy, more to inform.

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 01:55 PM
reply to post by Akragon

I was only going by the fact that you were expecting people to have "issues".
It is the Catholics and Orthodox who hold to the tradition of regarding individuals as "saints", in that specialised sense.
Protestants have always been ready to be sceptical about the legendary stories.

posted on Mar, 6 2012 @ 02:03 PM
reply to post by DISRAELI

i see...

my issue is this...

IF he was just a simple large man who "helped people cross a river" i can understand that... but IF he was a soldier, that also means he more then likely killed many people...

So the question is, are they venerating murderers?

Do they give sainthood to the best sniper in the army these days? Likely not...

I just don't understand... I thought saints were supposed to be the purest of human kind... Not exceptional soldiers.

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