From time immemorial, humans have invented mythical creatures or heroes with superhuman abilities to protect them from various monsters, enemy invaders or other incredible threats. In the course of time and the evolution of society they were either renamed or forgotten with the advent of Christianity. However, they have been replaced by various patrons, either watching over certain places, the people themselves or their activities, which over time have become professions as we know them today. Since the beginning of aviation, the profession of pilot has been perceived as a profession full of adventures and often dangerous situations. Although in many cases it is more a lifestyle than a job, there is always and everywhere a true saying: up you can, down you have to. It is therefore no surprise that protectors also appear in this area of human activity.
The main, but paradoxically almost unknown, patron of all pilots, airmen, astronauts, skydivers, but also airplanes and bad students is Josef Kopertinský (sometimes also called Kupertinský). This Franciscan monk, Josef Desa, was born on June 17, 1603 in the Italian village of Copertino. Before his ordination on 28th March 1628 he lived in Assisi for 14 years. During his lifetime, he was known as the so-called flying saint, who fell into ecstasy, followed by several hours of levitation. This was done whenever the image of Jesus, Virgin Mary or Saint Francis of Assisi was seen. Due to the frequent occurrence of these conditions, he was subjected to inspections by scientists and doctors many times. His flights, however, also attracted crowds of believers and therefore the Inquisition soon received an anonymous letter with the following text:
Here in Puglia there is a 33-year-old frater (religious without priestly ordination – author’s note) who makes himself a messiah and pulls the crowds behind him.
Though he never claimed to be so, he stood before the tribunal. None of them, however, dared to condemn them, for it also floated in the eyes of the Pope and the cardinals gathered. Although the prelates, after seeing the miracle, became prelates to his admirers, he was kept under isolation and forced exile until his death on September 18, 1663. Joseph Kupertinsky was blessed by the Church on February 24, 1753, and on September 18, 1767, he was canonized.
Giant with flowering stick
The second time this very well-known protector is Saint Christopher, watching over all children, pilgrims, drivers, pilots, sailors, passengers, miners, mountain roads, and air rescuers. His name is a call sign for a rescue helicopter not only in our country, but also in other European countries. In an emergency it protects against sudden death, infections, pain, wounds, natural hazards and weather extremes. There are many legends about him, the most famous of which is the story of a man of massive stature and great power named Reprobus. Reportedly born to pagan parents in the 2nd century in the territory of present-day Turkey, in adulthood he decided to serve only the greatest of the kings. After discovering that his earthly king was afraid of the devil, he decided it would be better to serve him. There, however, found that he is again afraid of the sign of the white cross and therefore decided to serve the one who belonged to the sign. He soon met a pilgrim who introduced him to the teachings of Christ. He also advised him to serve Christ by helping his fellow men. Taking his advice to his heart, he began to transfer travelers across the flooded river to the other side.
Once he was carrying a baby that was getting harder and harder. Reprobus did not understand this and asked him how it was possible. She introduced herself as Jesus Christ, the greatest of the kings he had sought all his life, and explained that he was carrying the burden of the world with him. The giant did not believe and wanted a miracle to prove his claim. Then the stick on which he leaned green and sprouted flowers and fruits on it. Reprobus believed and after he transferred the little Christ across the river, he was baptized and named Christophorus (from the Greek He who wears Christ). By spreading the gospel, he soon became the enemy of his secular king who imprisoned him. During his stay there, he continued to spread this teaching to other people. According to legend, he demonstrated his unusual abilities and stamina during torture and execution. Before dropping to the ground, set by the executioner’s sword, the soldiers tried to kill him with fire or four hundred arrows.