Crowds Line the Streets to Celebrate Saint Alban's Day

Tue, 25 June 2013

Thousands of people lined the streets of St Albans to join in the spectacular Alban Pilgrimage on Saturday.

In celebration of St Alban's Day, a dramatic procession of carnival puppets, pilgrims, dignitaries and local children made their way from St Peter's Church through the heart of the city centre to St Albans Cathedral, retelling the remarkable story of Britain's first Christian martyr, Alban. The streets where lined with thousands of onlookers who saw the story of the city's patron saint unfold.

One of the most dramatic scenes took place at the Town Hall where the new Magistrate puppet appeared on the balcony and sentenced Alban to death for giving shelter to a Christian priest named Amphibalus who was fleeing persecution by the Romans. Alban was then led by soldiers down to the West End of the Cathedral where he was put to death.

The Cathedral itself was full for the Pilgrimage services with preachers the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Holtam and the well-known Roman Catholic writer and speaker, Fr Timothy Radcliffe O.P.

Canon Kevin Walton said, “It was wonderful to bring the story of Alban back into the streets of the town which bought and saved the Abbey after Henry VIII had dissolved the monasteries.

The positive feedback has been overwhelming. Pilgrims, visitors, participants, onlookers, local residents and civic representatives were all caught up in this absorbing spectacle. We are especially pleased how the Alban Pilgrimage led into Sunday’s Street Party, making the weekend a great celebration of St Albans’ unique heritage and story."

For the first time in its history, the Pilgrimage was filmed by the BBC as part of a special BBC1 Songs of Praise programme scheduled to be broadcast on Sunday 28th July.

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