FEAST OF ST. ALBAN, styled the Protomartyr of Britain. Beheaded about the year 304.
This gracious personage was born at ancient Verulam, hard by the ruins of which important place our city of St. Alban's now stands.
On him lighted down the blessing of one who receives a prophet. He was still living in paganism when he gave shelter to a Christian priest fleeing from persecution: and in guerdon of this good deed Christ was preached to him. Thus each saved the other's life: one the life temporal, the other the life eternal.
The emissaries of death arrived at St. Alban's door on the track of their prey; but he who had been a soldier of Rome, was not one to flinch as a soldier of Christ. He exchanged cloaks with his guest, sped him on his journey, and in his stead confronted the hostile party. Taken before the governor, his faith armed him against all terrors: scourged, he rejoiced; led to death, he was satisfied.
The first man appointed to slay him, responding to the sudden call of Divine Grace, avowed himself a Christian: whereupon the twain were decapitated together.
"The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."