Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Shrine of St. Alban

Unfortunately, only a small number of medieval shrine pedestals survive in the UK today. Fortunately, the Cathedral of St. Alban, in St. Alban, houses the shrine with the relics of St. Alban. Built in 1308 and restored in 1992-3, it is a new red silk canopy, which has replaced the original that would have covered the martyr’s precious reliquary, which contained the relics of the saint. A bone, however, of St. Alban was replaced within the restored Shrine in 2002. It was a gift from the parish of St. Pantaleon in Cologne. The carvings of the Shrine include the martyrdom of St. Alban and one of King Offa, holding a model of the Abbey. 

The rose is the symbol of St. Alban and each year around 22nd June, St. Alban’s Day, worshippers bring roses to the Shrine to honour his martyrdom. The Orthodox of Great Britain also visit this shrine, since St. Alban is a saint venerated by both East and West. Groups, such as the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, have an annual Liturgy around the time of the Saint’s day, in order to venerate one of the two patron Saints of this ecumenical society, which promotes relations between the Anglicans and the Orthodox. 

A beautiful prayer is to be found near the shrine, stating: “Almighty God, we thank you for this place built to your glory and in memory of Alban our first martyr. Following his example in the fellowship of the saints may we worship and adore the true and living God and be faithful witnesses to the Christ who is alive and reigns now and for ever. Pray for us Alban; pray for us all saints of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ”.
For more information on St. Alban’s life please read here…!

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