The Prayer of St. Alban

Last week, Jana and I were in St. Albans in the UK with our dear friends, Hannah, David and Gil Bywaters. I was there speaking at Ashley Church, a beautiful, Christ-filled community.

While in St. Albans we got to visit St. Alban's Abbey, dedicated to the memory of Saint Alban.

St. Alban is venerated as Britain's first Christian martyr. For centuries, the shrine of St. Alban in the abbey has been a destination for pilgrimages, and remains so today.

Alban was martyred in the 3rd or 4th century. At the time, St. Albans was the Roman city Verulamium.

According to the story found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, it was a time of persecution of Christians, and Alban was a Roman solider stationed in Verulamium. One day, a priest fleeing persecution sought shelter at Alban's house. Alban took the priest in. During the priest's stay Alban became so impressed with the priest's courage and devotion that the Roman solider converted to Christianity.

Eventually, the priest's location was discovered. To save the priest, Alban placed his Roman cloak upon the holy man and dressed himself in the priest's garb. When the Roman soldiers arrived they arrested Alban and allowed the priest, disguised as a Roman solider, to escape.

The leaders of the persecution were outraged at Alban's subterfuge, demanding an answer as to why he had allowed the priest to escape. Alban confessed that he had converted to Christianity. To test his conversion, Alban was told he would endure all the punishments that were to be inflicted upon the priest unless he renounced his faith and participated in Roman pagan worship.

Alban refused and declared, "I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things."

Upon hearing this, Alban was sentenced to beheading.

And to this day, Alban's prayer is used in St Alban's Abbey.

"I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things."

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