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Martyrdom of Saint Alban | by Lawrence OP
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Martyrdom of Saint Alban

St Alban was a citizen of 3rd-century Verulamium (now St Albans) who converted to Christianity, it is said after sheltering a fugitive Christian priest. He was beheaded on Holmhurst Hill, where an abbey was later built.


Concerning his martyrdom, St Bede the Venerable wrote: "On the top of this hill, St. Alban prayed that God would give him water, and immediately a living spring broke out before his feet, the course being confined, so that all men perceived that the river also had been dried up in consequence of the martyr's presence. Nor was it likely that the martyr, who had left no water remaining in the river, should want some on the top of the hill, unless he thought it suitable to the occasion. The river having performed the holy service, returned to its natural course, leaving a testimony of its obedience. Here, therefore, the head of most courageous martyr was struck off, and here he received the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. But he who gave the wicked stroke, was not permitted to rejoice over the deceased; for his eyes dropped upon the ground together with the blessed martyr's head."


St Alban is the protomartyr of England, and his feast is on 20 June.


This stained glass window by Webb is in St Albans Cathedral.

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Taken on February 21, 2009