The Legend of Saint Christopher, by Malachi

In the East, Christopher is known as Reprobus, a converted pagan warrior, who died by torture rather than deny his faith. In the West, there is a more elaborate legend: Offerus, a native of third century A.D. Asia Minor, was a very large man inordinately proud of his size and strength. As a young man, he resolved to only serve the mightiest. At first, he served under the emperor, but when he saw his leader sign the cross for fear of the devil, he switched his allegiance to Satan. Seeing the devil later quake in front of the signed cross, Offerus went in search of Christ.

One day, at a deep river ford, a small child approached Offerus. Asked by the child to be carried across the water, he took him upon his back. With each step in the river, the load of the child became more unbearable. Finally, Offerus sank under the weight. The child revealed himself as Christ who carries the entire world in his hands. The Savior further revealed himself by changing Offerus' staff into a palm tree and many conversions were a result. Offerus swore to serve Christ alone and was canonized after his death by beheadment three days later by a pagan emperor. This tale comes down to us from a thirteenth century collection of legends.

After his conversion, Offerus became Christ-Offerus or Christopher which means "Christ-bearer" in Greek. Up to modern times, Christopher was the patron saint of travelers and his feast day was July 15 in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Throughout the Middle Ages, St. Christopher was also known as a saint who protected against natural disasters: fires, floods and earthquakes. In art he is portrayed as carrying the Christ child on his back. The Church dropped the saint from the list of enrolled saints in 1969 due to doubts about the story's authenticity. The tale of Saint Christopher probably originated as an allegory based on the literal meaning of the name in Greek.