St. Alban's Day

St. Alban's Day

June 22
St. Alban is the first and best known of all the English saints and martyrs. He was a soldier living as a pagan in the town of Verulamium, probably during the third century, when a Christian priest named Amphibalus, pursued by Roman persecutors, begged for refuge in his house. Alban took him in and was soon converted by him and baptized. When he could conceal Amphibalus no longer, Alban changed clothes with him and gave himself up as the priest. The deception was soon discovered, however, and Alban was brought before the governor, condemned, and beheaded.
There are a number of legends concerning St. Alban's execution. One is that when the crowd that gathered to watch the beheading was too large to get across the small bridge leading to the execution place, St. Alban said a prayer and caused the waters to divide. Another is that when he asked for a drink of water, a spring gushed forth from the ground in front of him. Supposedly, the soldier who was appointed to kill St. Alban refused to do so, and was beheaded along with the saint.
A shrine was later erected in Verulamium, and the town was renamed St. Albans. The cathedral hosts a festival each year on a weekend near St. Alban's Day, when pilgrims gather for special services, a procession, and other events.
CONTACTS:
Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban
St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 1BY United Kingdom
44-17-2786-0780; fax: 44-17-2785-0944
www.stalbanscathedral.org.uk
SOURCES:
BkDays-1864, vol. I, p. 808
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 149
OxYear-1999, p. 257