Saturday, June 21, 2008

St Alban, Protomartyr of England

Sunday may be the Fifth after Trinity and those are the propers which I as an obedient prayer book churchman will use at the altar, but I will not forget that it is also the feast of the first British martyr. Alban was a Roman soldier who took the place of a priest fleeing the authorities during one of the times when Rome decided to persecute the Christian Church. The priest escaped and his name is forgotten to the Church, but when Alban was killed in his stead, he became by that single act famous and honored by true Christians forever.

I especially have cause to honour him in that it was in dedicated to him that I first became aware of the Anglican faith and the Book of Common Prayer. The priest was the Reverend Herbert Conley and I will to my dying day remember how he looked when he opened the door to this inquirer. He was one of those who followed prayer book usage when most of the rest of the diocese, high church or low, were devoutly more Romano.

I have also been in St Alban's in England and while not impressed with the cathedral in comparison to others was very much impressed with the holiness of the place. I hope that the churches and cathedrals which we in the continuum have and will build will have such a sense of perpetual prayer and holiness in the centuries to come. I only wish that Tony Blair and Englands Labour government had not descecrated it so by the appointment of its present dean. Neither it nor any other church deserses that and certainly not this ancient and holy shrine.

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