As you know, our parish is named “St. Alban’s Episcopal Church”. It has been a common practice ever since churches began to be built to dedicate them to the memory of a particular Christian saint. Today, June 22nd, is St. Alban’s Day, so it would be good to know the story of our patron saint.
Alban was a pagan Roman soldier who lived in the town of Verulanium (now called “St. Albans”) in England in the 3rd century AD. While serving in the military, he befriended a Christian priest named Amphibalus, and took him into his home. The priest shared the Christian faith with Alban, and he was converted and baptized.
Some time later, a persecution against Christians broke out. When the Roman authorities came to arrest the clergy, Alban sought to spare Amphibalus’ life, so that he could continue to spread the faith. Alban put on the priest’s clothes and surrendered himself, hoping that his friend would escape. The plot failed, and Alban’s identity was revealed. When the judge demanded that Alban renounce his faith, he said:
“I am a Christian,
and am ready to do my duty.
I worship and adore
the true and living God,
who created all things”.
For this testimony, Alban was beheaded on June 22, AD 209 – the first Christian martyr of England. The site of his martyrdom became a shrine, and many people visited Alban’s grave to honor his faithfulness. The Cathedral of St. Alban was built to mark this sacred place, and hundreds of churches around the world were named after him. St. Alban is considered to be the patron saint of converts to the Christian faith; of refugees; and of the victims of torture. We are proud to be named after him, and inspired to continue his witness.
The 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. AMEN.”
Rev. John Peters, rector