Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Shrine of St. Amphibalus

The Cathedral of St. Albans contains two important shrines, St. Albans shrine and the shrine of St Amphibalus. The latter was an early Christian Evangelist, a fugitive from Roman persecution, who converted Alban to Christianity in the middle of the 3rd century.

This shrine pedestal of Totternhoe stone was the gift of the sacrist Ralph Witechurch whose initials can be seen in the fretwork patterns around the base. Traces of the original colouring remain at the top. Unfortunately, at the dissolution, the relics were destroyed and the pedestal smashed. The broken pieces of the pedestal were used as builders’ rubble and only recovered and reassembled in 1872 under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott.

It is a great shame that the relics were destroyed; nevertheless, we should be reminded, by the existence of this shrine, of the importance of people such as Amphibalus, who supported, promoted and died for their faith. 

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