Saint Christopher the Great Martyr
Date of celebration: 09/05
The Holy Great Martyr Christoforos came from a semi-barbarian tribe and was called Rembrovos, which means rejected, rejected, hellish. He probably lived during the time of the emperor Decius (249 – 251 AD), when the Bishop of Antioch was the Holy Hieromartyr Babylas (honored on September 4).
The Saint was so ugly in appearance, that’s why he was called “dog-faced”.
His conversion to Christ was miraculous. He was taken prisoner in a battle, which his nation fought with the Roman imperial troops. He joined the Roman legions and fought against the Persians, under Gordius and Philip.
When he was still a monk, in order to please Christ, he settled in a dangerous river passage and carried free on his shoulders those who wished to cross the river. One day a small child presented himself to him, who begged him to cross him to the opposite bank. Rembrobus willingly put it on his shoulders and, leaning on his staff, entered the river. But as he proceeded, the weight of the child increased, so that with great difficulty he managed to reach the opposite bank. As soon as he reached his destination, he told the boy in exasperation that even if he lifted the whole world he would not be so heavy. The child answered him: “Do not be surprised, because you did not only carry the whole world, but also this fetus. I am He in Whose service thou hast put thy strength, and in proof thereof plant thy stick, and to-morrow it shall have sprouted,’ and immediately he disappeared. Rembrobus planted the rod and the next day he found it had indeed sprouted. After this incident, he was baptized a Christian by the Holy Hieromartyr Bavylas, who renamed him Christopher. The uncreated divine Grace, received at the time of baptism and Anointing, transformed his entire being. And this still misshapen aspect of his seemed brighter and more beautiful.
In Orthodox iconography, the Saint is depicted carrying Christ on his shoulder. Perhaps because of this fact, he is considered the patron saint of drivers and in the Micron Euchologion, and specifically in the Procession “on the blessing of a new vehicle”, there is, first in the series, his apolytiko.
During the persecution against the Christians at that time, shortly after his baptism, he saw Christians being abused by the pagans. Out of indignation he intervened and made harsh remarks towards them, and escaped capture thanks to his gigantic stature and Herculean strength. But he was reported to the emperor and his arrest was ordered. Two hundred soldiers were sent for this purpose. They, after searching in various places, found him at the moment when he was preparing to dine on a piece of dry bread. Desperate and hungry, the soldiers asked Saint Christopher to give them something to eat and in return they promised not to mistreat him. One of the soldiers, seeing that there was no other food than dry bread, mocking Christopher, told him that he would gladly become a Christian if he had the power to feed them all with that piece of bread. Then the Saint, after kneeling, began to beg Christ to multiply that piece of bread, as he multiplied the five loaves in the desert, so that the hungry soldiers would be satisfied and be enlightened in the recognition and confession of Him. The Saint’s request was heard and the piece of bread multiplied. Seeing this miracle, the soldiers fell at the Saint’s feet and begged him to make them know their God better. The Saint explained the Christian teaching with simplicity and after they all expressed the desire to become Christians, he led them to the Bishop of Antioch, Babel, who, after catechizing them, baptized them. When the emperor Decius was informed of the fact, he arrested and beheaded the soldiers, and he tried to persuade Christopher with promises and flattery, but his efforts met with his persistent refusal. After this he sent to him two corrupt women, Aquilina and Callinike, hoping that by their allurements they would seduce and seduce him. The two women, after listening to the exhortation of the Saint, to return to the path of purity and virtue, became Christians and, after appearing before the emperor Decius, confessed Christ. That is why they met a martyr’s death.
Then Saint Christopher was subjected to horrible tortures and finally suffered death by beheading in 251 AD.
His Synaxis was held in his Martyrion near the church of Agios Magalomartyros Georgios in Kyparission and in the church of Agios Martyros Polyevktos, near Agia Efimia of Olyvrio.
Note: The couplet of Saint Christopher (as well as most of the iambic verses you read) was written by Christopher Patrick.
That is why his couplet begins (in translation): “I know you Christophoron my synonym…”