Awesome things about St Christopher? You mean besides the fact that he’s a motherfucking werewolf
Okay, to be fair: he’s not technically a werewolf, as in a guy who changes into a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. He’s a cynocephalus, which means “dog head,” because he has a dog head.
To be additionally fair, he’s not always depicted as a cynocephalus. It is typically in Eastern Orthodox iconography that we see him that way, though a German bishop who wrote a life of Saint Christopher described him as coming from a race of cynocephali. But even the people who would scoff at the idea of Christopher being a dog-headed man describe him as a giant or ogre, so there’s that.
To be fair to a degree that I usually am not, the origin of the confusion probably comes from the similarities between the words Cananaeus (man from Canaan) and caninus (doglike). But this is boring. Let’s go with the dog-head version.
With or without the dog head, there was a giant of a man named Reprobus (this word basically means “asshole” [not in the anatomical sense]), who was a servant of the king of Canaan. But being a big strong fellow, he grew tired of serving a king who he felt was too wimpy perhaps for his taste, so he set out to find the strongest king…IN THE WORLD!
He eventually finds a king reputed to be the mightiest and joins his service. But then one night a minstrel performs for the king and speaks the name of the devil, at which point the king crosses himself. Reprobus goes, “Goddammit, you wuss, now I have to go find this devil guy you’re so scared of.”
So Reprobus wanders the desert trying to find the devil so he can be his servant. As it happens, he comes across a band of marauders, the chief of whom claims to be the devil. Reprobus is like, “Great!” and joins this band of evil knights. (Jacobus de Voraigne takes this chief at his word that he was the actual devil, but it’s possible Reprobus was an idiot?)
Either way, the band of criminals eventually make their way to a road that has a cross by it, and the devil freaks out and Reprobus is like, “SON OF A BITCH”
And so anyway Reprobus makes his way to a hermit who can teach him to be a Christian. He’s like, “Are you sure Christ is actually the greatest king there is, like for real for real?” And the hermit is like, “Yes, totally.” And Reprobus is like, “You better be fucking right this time.”
And so the hermit teaches Reprobus about Christianity and Reprobus asks how he can best serve Christ. And the hermit says through fasting and prayer. And then Reprobus says, “Okay do you have anything less boring and shitty”
And that’s how Reprobus got the job carrying people across a river. There was no bridge, and people had died trying to ford the stream, and so it fell to Reprobus, a giant at the very least and a giant werewolf on the more awesome end of the scale, to carry people across on his shoulders.
One day a small child appeared at the river’s edge and asked to be carried across. Reprobus loads him up and starts walking across. But something goes terribly wrong: the river starts to swell, and this kid is just heavy as shit. It takes every ounce of power in Reprobus not to drown in the middle of the river. But he makes it.
He dumps the kid of and says, “Holy shit you almost killed me. I doubt if I carried the whole world on my shoulders it would have been any heavier.” And the kid says, “Um, actually, you carried not just the world, but the one who’s got the whole world in his hands.” At which point he ripped off his mask to reveal he had been Jesus this whole time and then he flew back to his home planet. (It is at this point in the dog-head version of the story that he is given a people-head as a reward.)
Anyway, that’s why we know him now as Christopher (i.e. “dude who carried Jesus”) and not “Asshole.”
So he goes around converting people etc until he decides to go to Lycia, where Christians are being martyred, so that he can comfort them. Naturally, being literally the biggest Christian in the joint, he is captured and brought before the king. When Christopher refuses to bow down to pagan idols, the king sends in two beautiful ladies to seduce him. And Chrisopher converts those ladies ALL. NIGHT. LONG.
Anyway, the king cuts off his head. His boring old person head.
Saint Christopher is one of the most popular saints in all of Christianity, so there’s a lot more to learn about him. Of course, you don’t have to take MY word for it.
Here is an unrelated photo of Karen Gillan:
Maybe you thought the Anglican Church got him in the divorce
I can take this one!
For the dude with the Saint George question: keep in mind that “patron saints” are largely matters of folklore and tradition. Other than papal canonization (a relatively recent practice) and liturgical formularies for masses and the Divine Office for saints days, there’s basically nothing official about sainthood or patronages. Stuff like “Fourteen Holy Helpers” were popular devotions in previous eras, and may still be observed by some pious folks, but it’s not a matter of canon, you know?
When the liturgical calendar was reformed along with the rest of the liturgy after Vatican II, many saints were dropped and added from the general calendar. This was done partly to get rid of saints with dubious historical origins and partly to make sure the general calendar reflected Christian heroes from across the world’s nations and cultures, not just Europe. (Individual conferences and religious orders have their own local observances too—American Catholics celebrate Elizabeth Ann Seton’s feast, for example, because she was the first American to be canonized.)
However, none of that matters here. Saint George is still on the general calendar and his feast day can be observed as an Optional Memorial by Catholics in the Roman Rite (meaning it need not be observed liturgically and cannot be observed if a feast of greater rank [including any given Sunday] conflicts with it). Catholics of other rites probably have him on their calendars too, but that would require me looking it up. I also would not be surprised if George’s memorial *isn’t* optional in the British Catholic Church.
I think the optional memorial business is what you mean by “third-class” saint, but for the record, there’s no such thing. Feasts are categorized to ensure that people are on the same page liturgically, but it’s not like he’s Colossus and St. Peter is the Hulk or something.
That’s what I meant
You mean besides the Spear of Longinus, which could cause empires to rise and fall?
There’s Ascalon, the lance (or in some versions, sword) that Saint George used to kill that dragon you might have heard about.
There was Joyeuse, the sword of Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, which was said to contain bits of the Spear of Longinus in its pommel.
Charlemagne’s paladin Roland had a sword called Durendal, which had in its hilt one of St Peter’s teeth, St Basil’s blood, a hair of St Denis, and a scrap of cloth that belonged to the Virgin Mary. It was said to be the sharpest sword that ever existed. (As long as I’m naming swords from the Song of Roland, Ogier the Dane’s magic sword was called the Courtain, and Almace was the sword of Turpin, Archbishop of Rheims.)
Saint Ferdinand III of Castile had a legendary sword called Lobera (“the wolf slayer”).
There’s the sword of Saint Peter, which he used to cut off the ear of a guard who came to arrest Jesus before the crucifixion, but it’s legend is not particularly badass, except in some legends it was given to Saint George, which is pretty cool except obviously he killed the dragon with that spear I was talking about a few paragraphs ago.
There’s the Sword of Mercy, which belonged to Edward the Confessor. It’s a sword with its tip broken off; it’s said an angel broke the tip off to prevent a wrongful killing. The sword remains today as part of the British Crown Jewels as a symbol of regal mercy.
More Judeo- than Christian, but the Seal of Solomon was a magical ring that King Solomon used to summon, control, and imprison demons.
There’s a few, anyway. I know they’re mostly swords, but I’m not aware of any Blessed C-4 out there (please do not say Holy Hand Grenade, nerds out there). Some of these might be of dubious Catholicity, but they all at least have something to do with a saint or a relic, so there you have it.
El Cid, if I recall correctly was Charlemagne’s sword, though I don’t know if there was anything special about it other than, you know, Charlemagne.
Charlemagne’s sword, Joyeuse, did feature a relic as part of it and was also mentioned in my original post. ;)