Announcements for May 9-15, 2010

Holy Martyr Christopher (“Christ-Bearer”)

Today:  8:30 am Matins; 9:30 am Divine Liturgy, Classes & Brunch

Tuesday:  6:00pm Vespers & Quietude; Yard Work Party

Wednesday:  6:00 pm Ascension Vespers & Litia

Thursday: 6:00 am Ascension Divine Liturgy; 6:00 pm Readers’ Vespers; 7:00 pm Choir

Saturday:  6:00 pm Vespers

Sunday: 8:30 am Matins; 9:30 am Divine Liturgy, Classes, Brunch

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Saint Christopher: “Christ-bearer”

The popular and best-known legend of Saint Christopher gives the background for his designation as the patron saint of travel.  There is general agreement that he died in the third century.  He is known to have died a martyr of the faith after converting many to Christianity.

He was a Canaanite who served his king, especially in matters requiring strength.  The tale has it that he was huge with an ugly face and an even uglier demeanor.  He was taken prisoner in a war with the Romans in North Africa, present day Libya.  He was forced to travel a great distance back to Rome.

While on his way back, a hermit told Christopher that because of his great size and strength, he should assist people to cross the river and this would be pleasing to God.  He assisted many travelers and he was happy in his service to God.  One evening outside his hut a little child, all alone, asked if he would help in crossing.  Christopher hoisted the child upon his shoulders and started across.  The river became turbulent and the child became heavier with each step.  He struggled across with great difficulty and said to the child, “I do not think the whole world could be as heavy on my shoulders as you were.”  The child replied, “You had on your shoulders not only the whole world but also him who made it.  I am Christ your King.“

Once home at Rome, Christopher was assigned as an army officer during the reign of Emperor Diocletian.  This emperor pursued a persecution of Christians, and to his surprise one of his personnel guards refused to participate and proclaimed himself a Christian.  That Christian was St. George.  The Diocletian ordered that George be tortured and killed.  Christopher watched the torture and killing, and shortly after declared himself to be a Christian as well.  The emperor condemned Christopher be tortured and put to death.

He is patron of mariners, floods, sailors, surfers, boatman, and protector against hailstorms and lightning.  Relating to carrying the Christ child, St. Christopher is the patron of people who lift and carry, porters, transportation and transportation workers.  But probably the most important patronage of all (though usually overshadowed by the patronage of travel) Saint Christopher is the patron saint of a Christian end to our lives.