|He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36|
Who was St Alban 'The Martyr' ?
Saint Alban was a soldier in the Roman Army stationed in Britain. His exact background is unknown, but popular tradition declares him a native Briton. He is thought to have been born during the reign of Decius (from AD 254) and to have suffered religious persecutions under the reign of Emperor Diocletian.
During these dangerous times, Alban received into his house and sheltered a Christian priest, named Amphibalus, and was so struck by the devotion to God and blameless life of this man whom he protected, that he placed himself under his instruction and became a Christian.
A rumour reached the governor of Verulamium, that the priest was hiding in the house of Alban, and he sent soldiers to search it. Alban, seeing them arrive, hastily threw the long cloak of the priest over his own head and shoulders and presented himself to the soldiers as the man whom they sought. He was immediately bound and taken before the governor who, at that moment, was standing at one of the civic altars, offering up a sacrifice. When the cloak, which had concealed Alban's face, was removed, it was immediately revealed that he was not the priest whose arrest the governor had ordered. The Governor became very angry and he ordered Alban, immediately, to sacrifice to the gods or to suffer death. Alban refused to offer a sacrifice to the idols (false Gods).
Then the magistrate asked, "Of what family and race are you?" "How can it concern thee to know of what stock I am?" answered Alban. "If thou wish to know what is my religion, I will tell thee - I am a Christian and am bound by Christian obligations."
"I ask thy name, tell it me immediately." the magistrate ordered. "I am called Albanus by my parents," Alban replied, "and I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things. These sacrifices which are offered to devils are to no avail. Hell is the reward of those who offer them."
The governor then ordered St. Alban to be 'whipped', hoping to break him by pain but the 'martyr' bore the flogging, patiently for the Lord's sake.
When the judge saw that he could not prevail, he ordered Alban to be put to death Alban was executed at Verulamium, on 20th June, AD 304 . However, the original executioner refused to perform his office and, throwing down his sword, confessed himself a Christian also. Another man was detailed to deal the blow and both Alban and the executioner, who had refused to strike, died together.
Alban's body was buried in Verulamium and, when Christianity was
legalised by the Emperor Constantine the Great, not long afterwards, he
was well remembered by the local community who erected a martyrium
above his grave. This almost certainly became a place of pilgrimage,
even in Roman times. It was famously visited by St. Germanus of Auxere,
in AD 429, when a small Church had also been founded on the site.
Church disappeared during the Dissolution of the