St. Alban, Protomartyr of Britain

From Jason John Edwards, Obl.S.B.,’s series on English saints.

The Feastday of St. Alban is tomorrow, 22 June.

From the Ecclesiatical History of St Bede the Venerable:

Saint Alban, ‘born in fertile Britain’s land’, suffered during the reign of Diocletian and Herculian. Whilst still a pagan, he gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from his persecutors. When Alban saw the holy man spending all his time in prayer and vigils, he was suddenly touched by the grace of God. He was moved to follow the priest’s example and began to emulate his faith and devotion. In the course of time, he thoroughly imbibed the priest’s salutary teaching, renounced the darkness of idolatry, and wholeheartedly professed the Christian faith. Soon, however, word got out that Alban was sheltering a Christian, and when the soldiers arrived to search the house, Alban dressed himself in the priest’s clothes and gave himself up in the place of his guest and teacher.

The judge was incensed that Alban should have surrendered himself in place of his guest; and when he refused to offer sacrifice to idols, ordered him to be scourged, in the hope that he could shake his constancy by torture. But Alban bore all his severe torments with joyful patience for Christ’s sake. When the judge saw that no torture could break him or induce him to repudiate his faith in Christ, he ordered him to be beheaded.

Saint Alban suffered on the twenty-second day of June near the city of Verulamium. When the peace of Christian times was restored, a beautiful church worthy of his martyrdom was built.

In the same persecution Julius and Aaron suffered, citizens of the city of Legions, and many others of both sexes throughout the land.

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