Saint Christopher, a martyr of the early church, beheaded, according to tradition, in the year 250, during the persecution of Decius. His feast is celebrated by the Greek church on May 9, and by the Latin church on July 25. The Mozarabic breviary, attributed to St. Isidore, states that a great portion of his remains were brought from the East to Toledo. Compostela, Valencia, and Astorga pride themselves on the possession of a part of his relics. The abbatial church of St. Denis, near Paris, also boasted of a like privilege. A man of gigantic stature and noble birth, he was baptized by Babylas, bishop of Antioch, and going into the desert, fixed his abode near a rapid stream, over which he was wont to carry travellers on his back. One day a little child called to him from across the swollen flood, and the hermit went fearlessly into the waters, and in the child whom ho carried across discovered the Saviour. Hence his name of Christophoros, or Christ-bearer. Baronius and other historians regard him and his life as an allegory; the Bollandists and Baillet maintain the fact of his existence and his martyrdom.
Saint Christopher, an island of the British West Indies, often called St. Kitt's, in the Leeward group, separated from Nevis on the southeast by a strait 2 m. wide; length 23 m., breadth of its main body nearly 5 m.; area, 67 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 24,440. A range of mountains traverses the island from S. E. to N. W.; the highest is Mt. Misery, over 4,000 ft. The skirts of the mountains, the higher parts of which are wooded, together with the valley of Basseterre, form the arable portion of the island, and are devoted mainly to sugar. The government consists of a president, an executive council appointed by the crown, and a legislative assembly, half of whose members are elected. Nevis has been recently united with St. Christopher for the purposes of executive government. In 1869 the imports were valued at £198,712; exports, £222,712. Capital, Basseterre. - St. Christopher was settled by English colonists under Sir Thomas Warner in 1623, was held afterward by the English and French, and finally was ceded to Great Britain by the treaty of Versailles in 1783. In 1872 it joined the confederation of the Leeward Islands, the legislature of which sits at St. John's, Antigua, and Basseterre in alternate years.