Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
295
CHRISTODORUS—CHRIST’S HOSPITAL

blows the greater part of the year. The rainfall in the wet season is heavy, but not excessive, and during the dry season the ground is refreshed with occasional showers and heavy dews. Malarial fever is not prevalent, and it is interesting to note that there are no swamps or standing waters on the island.

It is not known when and by whom the island was discovered, but under the name of Moni it appears on a Dutch chart of 1666. It was first visited in 1688 by Dampier, who found it uninhabited. In 1886 Captain Maclear of H.M.S. “Flying Fish,” having discovered an anchorage in a bay which he named Flying Fish Cove, landed a party and made a small but interesting collection of the flora and fauna. In the following year Captain Aldrich on H.M.S. “Egeria” visited it, accompanied by Mr J. J. Lister, F.R.S., who formed a larger biological and mineralogical collection. Among the rocks then obtained and submitted to Sir John Murray for examination there were detected specimens of nearly pure phosphate of lime, a discovery which eventually led, in June 1888, to the annexation of the island to the British crown. Soon afterwards a small settlement was established in Flying Fish Cove by Mr G. Clunies Ross, the owner of the Keeling Islands, which lie about 750 m. to the westward. In 1891 Mr Ross and Sir John Murray were granted a lease, but on the further discovery of phosphatic deposits they disposed of their rights in 1897 to a company. In the same year a thorough scientific exploration was made, at the cost of Sir John Murray, by Mr C. W. Andrews, of the British Museum.

See C. W. Andrews, A Monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), (London, 1900).


CHRISTODORUS, of Coptos in Egypt, epic poet, flourished during the reign of Anastasius I. (A.D. 491–518). According to Suidas, he was the author of Πάτρια, accounts of the foundation of various cities; Λυδιακά, the mythical history of Lydia; Ίσαυρικά, the conquest of Isauria by Anastasius; three books of epigrams; and many other works. In addition to two epigrams (Anthol. Pal. vii. 697, 698) we possess a description of eighty statues of gods, heroes and famous men and women in the gymnasium of Zeuxippus at Constantinople. This ἔκφρασις, consisting of 416 hexameters, forms the second book of the Palatine Anthology. The writer’s chief models are Homer and Nonnus, whom he follows closely in the structure of his hexameters. Opinions are divided as to the merits of the work. Some critics regard it as of great importance for the history of art and a model of description; others consider it valueless, alike from the historical, mythological and archaeological points of view.

See F. Baumgarten, De Christodoro poëta Thebano (1881), and his article in Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyclopädie, iii. 2 (1899); W. Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur (1898).


CHRISTOPHER, SAINT (Christophorus, Christoferus), a saint honoured in the Roman Catholic (25th of July) and Orthodox Eastern (9th of May) Churches, the patron of ferrymen. Nothing that is authentic is known about him. He appears to have been originally a pagan and to have been born in Syria. He was baptized by Babylas, bishop of Antioch; preached with much success in Lycia; and was martyred about A.D. 250 during the persecution under the emperor Decius.[1] Round this small nucleus of possibility, however, a vast mass of legendary matter gradually collected. All accounts agree that he was of great stature and singularly handsome, and that this helped him not a little in his evangelistic work. But according to a story reproduced in the New Uniat Anthology of Arcudius, and mentioned in Basil’s Monologue, Christopher was originally a hideous man-eating ogre, with a dog’s face, and only received his human semblance, with his Christian name, at baptism. Most of his astounding miracles are of the ordinary type. He thrusts his staff into the ground; whereupon it sprouts into a date palm, and thousands are converted. Courtesans sent to seduce him are turned by his mere aspect into Christians and martyrs. The Roman governor is confounded by his insensibility to the most refined and ingenious tortures. He is roasted over a slow fire and basted with boiling oil, but tells his tormentors that by the grace of Jesus Christ he feels nothing. When at last, in despair, they cut off his head, he had converted 48,000 people.

The more conspicuous of these legends are included in the Mozarabic Breviary and Missal, and are given in the thirty-third sermon of Peter Damien, but the best-known story is that which is given in the Golden Legend of Jacopus de Voragine. According to this, Christopher—or rather Reprobus, as he was then called—was a giant of vast stature who was in search of a man stronger than himself, whom he might serve. He left the service of the king of Canaan because the king feared the devil, and that of the devil because the devil feared the Cross. He was converted by a hermit; but as he had neither the gift of fasting nor that of prayer, he decided to devote himself to a work of charity, and set himself to carry wayfarers over a bridgeless river. One day a little child asked to be taken across, and Christopher took him on his shoulder. When half way over the stream he staggered under what seemed to him a crushing weight, but he reached the other side and then upbraided the child for placing him in peril. “Had I borne the whole world on my back,” he said, “it could not have weighed heavier than thou!” “Marvel not!” the child replied, “for thou hast borne upon thy back the world and him who created it!” It was this story that gave Christopher his immense popularity throughout Western Christendom.

See Bolland, Acta Sanct. vi. 146; Guenebault, Dict. iconographique des attributs des figures et des légendes des saints (Par., 1850); Smith and Wace, Dict. of Christ. Biog. (London, 1877, &c., 4 vols.); A. Sinemus, Die Legende vom h. Christophorus (Hanover, 1868); and other literature cited in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyk. iv. 60.


CHRISTOPHORUS, pope or anti-pope, elected in 903 against Leo V., whom he threw into prison. In January 904 he was treated in the same fashion by his competitor, Sergius III., who had him strangled.


CHRISTOPOULOS, ATHANASIOS (1772–1847), Greek poet, was born at Castoria in Macedonia. He studied at Buda and Padua, and became teacher of the children of the Vlach prince Mourousi. After the fall of that prince in 1811, Christopoulos was employed by Prince Caradja, who had been appointed hospodar of Moldavia and Walachia, in drawing up a code of laws for that country. On the removal of Caradja, he retired into private life and devoted himself to literature. He wrote drinking songs and love ditties which are very popular among the Greeks. He is also the author of a tragedy, of Politika Parallela (a comparison of various systems of government), of translations of Homer and Herodotus, and of some philological works on the connexion between ancient and modern Greek.

His Hellenika Archaiologemata (Athens, 1853) contains an account of his life.


CHRIST’S HOSPITAL (the “Blue-coat School”), a famous English educational and charitable foundation. It was originally one of three royal hospitals in the city of London, founded by Edward VI., who is said to have been inspired by a sermon of Bishop Ridley on charity. Christ’s hospital was specially devoted to fatherless and motherless children. The buildings of the monastery of Grey Friars, Newgate Street, were appropriated to it; liberal public subscription added to the king’s grant endowed it richly; and the mayor, commonalty and citizens of London were nominated its governors in its charter of 1553. At first Christ’s hospital shared a common fund with the two other hospitals of the foundation (Bridewell and St Thomas’s), but the three soon became independent. Not long after its opening Christ’s was providing home and education (or, in the case of the very young, nursing) for 400 children. The popular name of the Blue-coat school is derived from the dress of the boys—originally (almost from the time of the foundation) a blue gown, with knee-breeches, yellow petticoat and stockings, neck-bands and a blue cap. The petticoat and cap were given up in the middle of the 19th century, and thereafter no head-covering was worn. The buildings on the Newgate Street site underwent reconstruction from time to time, and in 1902 were vacated by

  1. Or Dagnus—perhaps to be identified with Maximinus Daza, joint emperor (with Galerius) in the East 305–311, and sole emperor 311–313.