St. Christopher served in the Imperial Roman Army in the time of the Emperor Decius, a.d. 249 to 251. St. Christopher was a strong and mighty warrior, but because of being disfigured from battle, and thereby quite hard to look at, he was called “the Dog-face.” Inside, however, because of his Christian virtue and love after he converted, he became most beautiful of soul and heart.
St. Christopher, later out of Christian charity, spent some time as a human ferry, carrying travelers across a river on his back. In this icon he is shown carrying Christ over a river because once when St. Christopher was ferrying a small child on his back, he stopped in the middle of the river because the small Child was heavier than anything St. Christopher had ever carried before. He said to the Child, “Had I borne the whole world on my back, it would not have outweighed Thee.” The Child then responded, “Marvel not, for you have borne upon your back the world and Him Who created it.” The name Christopher means “Christ-Bearer” from the Greek and then the Latin. St. Christopher was tortured and finally beheaded by the Roman authorities on May 9, a.d. 255.