In addition to St Bede and St Philip Neri, the Church recalls the memory of St Alban, the first Christian martyr of Britain, today. The list of saints commemorated on any given days is always interesting and worth our time in knowing and praying for their assistance.

The Byzantine Church recalls Alban’s memory today while the Latin Church will claim him on June 22. The year of his death is disputed.

The entry for Alban’s life reads thusly for one of the typicons:

“Our venerable father, Alban, protomartyr of the English.

Since the island of Britain was under Roman rule, Dio¬≠cletian’s persecution accounts for Alban’s martyrdom some time around 287.

Alban, of Latin-Briton stock, gave shelter to a fleeing Christian priest. After hearing his guest describe his belief in Christ, Alban requested baptism. When soldiers traced the priest to Alban’s house, they discovered Alban dressed in the priest’s clothes. This enabled the priest to escape, but gave the authorities an excuse to execute Alban.

He was beheaded on a hill outside a town now known as St Albans in Hertfordshire. A monastery was founded on the site in the 8th century and became a famous Benedictine abbey. (NS)