Oil dedicated to St Christopher on prayer cloth
The Oil dedicated to St Christopher on prayer cloth is dedicated to the saint that reputedly carried the Infant Jesus across a river.
Saint Christopher is venerated by several Christian denominations as a martyr. Killed in the reign of the 3rd-century Roman Emperor Decius (reigned 249–251) or alternatively under the Roman Emperor Maximinus II Dacian (reigned 308–313). There appears to be confusion due to the similarity in names “Decius” and “Dacian”. However his veneration only appears late in Christian tradition, and did not become widespread in the Western Church until the Late Middle Ages, although churches and monasteries were named after him by the 7th century.
It is disputed whether Christopher existed, and if so whether the name applied to a specific person or was a general title meaning “Christ-bearer” which was applied to several different real or legendary people. He may be the same figure as Saint Menas. His most famous legend, which is mainly known from the West and may draw from Ancient Greek mythology, tells that he carried a child, who was unknown to him, across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ. Therefore, he is the patron saint of travellers, and small images of him are often worn around the neck, on a bracelet, carried in a pocket, or placed in vehicles by Christians.
Tradition of oils
The tradition of anointing with sacred oil is very old indeed. It is used in sacraments and also as a devotional practice. The sick person applies the oil and blesses themselves. As they do so, they are asked to pray to whomever the oil is dedicated to. The Irish blessings oils do not have miraculous power. It is God who has the power to heal. Applying the oil while praying are important ways for us to express our faith in God’s power. Moreover, by doing so we place our trust in God.