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Reflections for June

as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life June 2018


26th May 2018
Pam Spychal
reflections 06-2018aI had better warn you that I am going to be contentious this month!
On 22nd June, the Church of England commemorates the martyrdom of St Alban in about the year 250
Before we moved to Norfolk, we lived for many years in the Diocese of St Albans. Every year, during St Alban’s-tide our Parish joined a pilgrimage to his shrine in the Cathedral. This was a joyous occasion. Some people would walk several miles along the pilgrim route, visiting traditional ‘hostelries’ on the way. We went on a coach, with the Sunday school. I always remember it being hot and sunny, which can’t always have been the case – memory is a funny thing! We all carried roses, if we had any in our gardens, to lay at St Alban’s shrine. The day was rounded off with a picnic and games in the grounds of the Cathedral
I have always looked forward to telling the story of St Alban, both in Sunday school and throughout my career as a teacher. I reproduce his story here, courtesy of
reflections 06-2018bAlban lived during the third century in the Roman city of Verulamium (St Albans), in the valley below the present Cathedral. One day he gave shelter to a stranger fleeing from persecution. This was a Christian priest, originally unnamed but later called Amphibalus in the retelling of the story. Alban was so moved by the priest’s faith and courage that he asked to be taught more about Christianity, then still a forbidden religion
Before long the authorities came to arrest the fugitive priest. But Alban, inspired by his new-found faith, exchanged clothes with Amphibalus, allowing him to escape. The Roman soldiers instead arrested Alban and brought him before the city magistrate. Alban refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods, and declared: “I am Alban and I worship and adore the true and living God, who created all things”
The magistrate ordered that Alban should receive the punishment due to the priest. He was brought out of the town and up a hill to the site of execution where he was beheaded. Alban is honoured as the first British martyr, and his grave on this hillside quickly became a place of pilgrimage
St Alban’s story takes us back to the beginning of the Christian faith in Britain; he is a saint of the undivided church, a saint for all Christians

Now, here’s the contentious bit. A number of people, including myself, think that St Alban should be the patron saint of England. He is the first British martyr, he predates St George, and his story of courage, compassion, and hospitality to strangers, is profoundly relevant to us all in these troubled times

reflections 06-2018c

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Chris evans (Guest) 28/05/2018 07:04
I agree he should be patron saint of England, but that won't happen due to st George flag, , but could be patron saint of Britain!