Thursday, June 19, 2014
The saint of the day for June 20 is St. Alban, the first Christian martyr in Britain during the early 4th century. He is the patron saint of converts and torture victims.
Even though he was not a man of faith, St. Alban was very hospitable and compassionate. As a soldier, he sheltered a persecuted priest, Amphibalus, during a time that Christians were being put to death in Britain. The priest struck St. Alban with his faith and piety, as well as his dedication to prayer.
Alban soon converted to Christianity.
In an effort to help the priest escape, he switched clothes with him. But Alban was caught and ordered to renounce his faith. St. Alban refused to worship idols, and when asked to state his name, answered “My name is Alban, and I worship the only true and living God, who created all things.”
When he refused, he was to be tortured and beheaded. The person first selected to execute Alban heard his testimony and converted on the spot. After refusing to kill Alban, he was executed as well.
A number of other conversions are claimed to have happened thanks to the witness of St. Alban’s martyrdom, specifically on behalf of spectators of his execution.
Finally, when the priest learned that Alban was arrested in his place, he turned himself in, hoping to save Alban’s life. But that wasn’t the case. The priest was killed as well.
St. Alban’s Cathedral now stands near the execution site. The town where he was born was also renamed after him.