Today we remember the first Martyr in Britain whose death occurred in the year 305, or 254, or 209, depending on which modern scholar you prefer. It would seem safe to say the 3rd century during one of the persecutions of Christians by the Roman Empire.
The story of Alban begins with his being a pagan Roman soldier stationed in Verulamium (modern day St. Albans). During a persecution of Christians, he gave shelter to a Christian priest. The priest’s answers to Alban’s questions led him to accept Christ as his only Lord and Saviour. Some stories say the priest baptised him. When other soldiers came to the house looking for the priest, Alban dressed in the priest’s cloak and was arrested and taken before the military governor. Alban refused to recant, even under torture, and was beheaded, but not before the first executioner had been converted by Alban, and a second had to be brought in. Alban became the first martyr in Roman Britain, the converted executioner was the second, and the priest was the third.
St. Alban’s Abbey was a great medieval monument to St. Alban, and pilgrims from many countries came to visit the magnificent shrine erected in memory of his faith and martyrdom.
Bible Reading: Wisdom 3:1-9; Matthew 10:40-42