On this day we celebrate the feast of St. Alban, Britain's first Christian Martyr.
"He was yet a Pagan, when the cruel Emperors first published their edicts against the Christians, and when he received a clergyman flying from his persecutors into his house as an asylum. Having observed that his guest spent whole days and nights in continual praying and watching, he felt himself on a sudden inspired by the grace of God, and began to emulate so glorious an example of faith and piety, and being leisurely instructed by his wholesome admonitions, casting off the darkness of idolatry, he became a Christian in all sincerity of heart.
"And, when he had exercised his hospitality towards the before-mentioned clergyman, for some days, a report reached the ears of the impious prince, that the confessor of Christ, to whom the glory of martyrdom had not yet been granted, was concealed in Alban's house: upon which, he commanded some soldiers to make a strict search after him. When they came to his house, St. Alban immediately presented himself to them, dressed in the clothes which his guest and instructor usually wore."
Alban was arrested and taken to a judge who demanded to know what his name was.
"'I am called Alban by my parents,' he replied, 'and ever worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things.' Then the judge, in a rage, said, 'If you will enjoy the happiness of eternal life, do not delay to offer sacrifice to the great gods.'"
Alban refused and was beheaded. It was about the year 250.
"Alban was probably buried in the Roman cemetery to the south of the present Abbey Church. Recent finds suggest an early basilica over the spot and later a Saxon Benedictine monastery was founded, probably by King Offa around 793. This was replaced in 1077 by the large Norman church and monastery, the remains of which are still partly visible in the tower and central part of the present cathedral."
--The Cathedral and Abbey Church of Saint Alban "is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain".
Click here for a YouTube of St. Alban's Abbey.
Collect for St. Alban's Day:
Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world, that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.