From the Late Greek name Χριστοφορος (Christophoros)
meaning "bearing CHRIST
", derived from Χριστος (Christos)
combined with φερω (phero)
"to bear, to carry". Early Christians used it as a metaphorical name, expressing that they carried Christ in their hearts. In the Middle Ages, literal interpretations of the name's etymology led to legends about a Saint
Christopher who carried the young Jesus
across a river. He has come to be regarded as the patron saint of travellers.
As an English given name, Christopher
has been in general use since the 15th century. In Denmark it was borne by three kings (their names are usually spelled Christoffer), including the 15th-century Christopher of Bavaria who also ruled Norway and Sweden. Other famous bearers include Italian explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), English architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) and the fictional character Christopher Robin from A. A. Milne's 'Winnie-the-Pooh' books.