Dates for assembly

5th May 2006 at 01:00
His name was removed from the list of Catholic saints in 1969 but he is still celebrated on this date in Orthodox churches

Outline script

Christopher was a giant who wanted to serve the greatest king in the world. At last he found a rich and powerful king and became his servant.

One day, some travelling entertainers arrived at the king's court and sang a song about the devil. The king turned pale and trembled. "The devil is greater than this king," thought Christopher and he went to find the devil.

The devil was delighted to gain such a powerful recruit. One day, they were out riding and came to a large cross placed beside the road. The devil took one look and galloped off. Christopher realised there was someone greater than the devil.

Eventually a holy man told him he would find him by using the gifts God had given him. The man showed Christopher a place where a dangerous river crossed the route Christians followed when making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. "Use your strength to carry these pilgrims on your shoulders across the river."

One night, Christopher was woken by a boy who wanted to be carried across the river. Even though it was stormy, the boy insisted. Christopher put him on his shoulders and started to wade through the swirling river. The child seemed to grow heavier. Christopher feared he might stumble and both might drown, but at last they reached the other side.

"It seemed I was carrying the whole world on my shoulders," said Christopher. "No wonder," said the child, "for I am Jesus who saved the world by taking the weight of all the sins of the world upon me."

Christopher had found his new master.

Many people consider him to be the patron saint of travellers, especially of motorists. They often say the words "Saint Christopher protect" as a prayer before setting off on a journey.

Follow-up

His saint's day was removed from the Catholic calendar (it was July 25) because there is little evidence he existed. Discuss why he remains so popular.

In Greek, Christophoros means "the one who carries Christ". Research the meanings of first and family names. Read the parable of the talents: Matthew's gospel, chapter 25.

An introduction to the cult of St Christopher is at www.paintedchurch.orgscintro.htm

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