For the first time, the Alban Pilgrimage procession united with the vibrant Alban Festival on a single day.

A spectacle of 12ft puppets weaved through the streets, retelling the story of St Alban – from whom the City gets its name. We were thrilled to welcome pilgrims from all over the Diocese, country, and internationally. This year we had 23 parishes join the procession.

After the Pilgrimage procession, the fun continued on the Orchard all the way up to the High Street. There wasa hive of activity on the Orchard with re-enactments, crafts, food and more, as well the usual charming shops, restaurants and market in town, all being bridged by fantastic live music performances at the Clock Tower.

Fr Kevin, Canon Chancellor, who oversees the Alban Pilgrimage, said of the day,

We invited all people from the whole city and district to come and join in our procession as we moved from St Peter’s Church, passed the city Museum and onto the West End of the Cathedral where we witness Alban’s dramatic execution. We also had two new puppets which appeared for the first time, the Cathedral’s own breeding pair of peregrine falcons, Alban and Boudica. The word ‘peregrine’ itself means ‘pilgrim’, so it is only right that they featured with the thousands of other pilgrims who celebrated this great occasion.

It is especially fitting that our preacher for the Pilgrimage Eucharist was Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford. Today she preached to the congregation of over 600 in the Cathedral. Bishop Guli was born in Iran but had to escape religious persecution with her family, finding a shelter and home in this country. It is a reminder that the story of Alban’s hospitality to a priest seeking refuge still resonates so strongly today. You can read Bishop Guli's sermon below

Read Bishop Guli's Sermon.

The day concluded with Evensong and procession at the Cathedral, including the laying of roses at the Shrine of Alban. You can watch the livestreamed service here.

Make sure to save the date for Alban Pilgrimage next year taking place on 21 June 2025.

📷 Toby Shepheard