Even the Catholic
church admits many are fakes
Whatever happened to St.
Before the 1969 reform of the Roman calendar, Christopher was listed as a
martyr who died under Decius. Nothing else is known about him. There are several
legends about him including the one in which he was crossing a river when a
child asked to be carried across. When Christopher put the child on his
shoulders he found the child was unbelievably heavy. The child, according to the
legend, was Christ carrying the weight of the whole world. This was what made
Christopher patron saint of travelers and is invoked against storms, plagues,
etc.. His former feast day is July 25.
Before the formal canonization process began in the fifteenth century, many
saints were proclaimed by popular approval. This was a much faster process but
unfortunately many of the saints so named were based on legends, pagan
mythology, or even other religions -- for example, the story of the Buddha
traveled west to Europe and he was "converted" into a Catholic saint!
In 1969, the Church took a long look at all the saints on its calendar to see if
there was historical evidence that that saint existed and lived a life of
holiness. In taking that long look, the Church discovered that there was little
proof that many "saints", including some very popular ones, ever
lived. Christopher was one of the names that was determined to have a basis
mostly in legend. Therefore Christopher (and others) were dropped from the
Some saints were considered so legendary that their cult was completely
repressed (including St. Ursula). Christopher's cult was not suppressed but it
is confined to local calendars (those for a diocese, country, or so forth). His
name Christopher, means Christ-bearer. He died a martyr during the reign of
Decius in the third century.
POPE MARCHES 40 SAINTS OFF OFFICIAL CHURCH CALENDAR
From: Wire Services-UPI
Vatican City-- The Roman Catholic church dropped St. Christopher, the
travelers' patron, and more than 40 other saints from its official calendar
In a separate action it also made optional the commemoration of more than 90
other saints, including St. Nicholas, from whom evolved the Christmas legend
of Santa Claus.
Those dropped from the liturgical calendar were removed because of doubt
that they ever existed. The action seemed certain to confuse many Catholics
who have been venerating them for years.
The reclassification of St. Nicholas, whose legend as patron saint of
children grew in some countries into the Santa Claus tradition, was made for a
Church authorities stressed that there was no doubt of the authenticity of
St. Nicholas, a southern Italian bishop, or of another saint similarly
affected-St. George, the legendary dragon slayer who has been patron saint of
England since the Crusades.
Their commemoration was made an option of local authorities throughout the
world simply to relieve the entire church of the obligation to honor saints
not universally well-known, Vatican spokesmen said.
Perhaps the best-known saint to be dropped was St. Christopher, patron saint
of travelers, who tradition says carried a child across a swollen ford and
discovered the child was Christ. Millions of St. Christopher medals are
attached to automobile interiors to invoke St. Christopher's help for a safe
The sweeping reform of the list which includes feasts, fasts, special days,
and other religious occasions-downgraded saints whose existence or exploits
are now doubtful. The decree was aimed at putting more emphasis on the
crucifixion and Christ.
The exact number of saints affected by the decree, dated Feb. 14 and
effective Jan. 1, was not known because the Vatican did not issue an official
list of those dropped or demoted, only of those still in good standing.
Newsmen had to compare old calendars with the new list. There were at least 40
Comparison of lists took hours and was complicated by the new list which was
issued only in Latin language.
Confusion was compounded by the fact that some of the expunged saints were
Among those also reduced in stature was St. George, once considered to be
the model of knighthood, and credited in legend with slaying of the dragon.
Saint Nicholas, a third century saint whose Latin name, Sanctus Nicolaus,
gradually became Santa Claus, remains on the church calendar. But Catholics
are no longer obliged to honor him on his special day-Dec. 6.
There isn't any Santa Claus-and that's official. The Vatican Friday demoted
St. Nicholas, above. At the same time, in a sweeping calendar reform. Pope
Paul VI eliminated another of the most popular of all Catholic saints, St.
Christopher, whose medallion, below, hangs around the necks of millions of