The Alban Pilgrimage celebrates city's roots
On Saturday 23rd June, the spectacular Alban Pilgrimage will take to the streets of St Albans for a mixture of vibrant procession, spiritual pilgrimage and joyful worship, celebrating the identity of the city.
As part of the Alban weekend, the event commemorates the martyrdom of Alban, Britain’s first saint who died for his faith on the very spot that St Albans Cathedral now stands after giving shelter to a Christian priest fleeing persecution from the Romans. This story of hope and justice will be re-enacted by 12ft tall carnival puppets along with hundreds of children and young people from the local community. A stunning new chariot puppet, created by students from Oakland’s College, will also join this year’s procession. All are encouraged to line the streets and to follow the procession as it makes it’s way to the Cathedral.
After the procession, a range of beautiful services will take place throughout the day. Everyone is welcome; whether to hear the stunning voices of the Cathedral Choirs, experience the peaceful chant of an Orthodox Service for the first time, or simply step into the building to find out more about one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in Britain.
This year’s guest preachers, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral and Stuart Burns OSB of Mucknell Abbey, recipient of the Dunstan Award for Prayer and Religious Life, join the celebrations on this special day.
The Dean of Southwark Cathedral said “I am delighted to be preaching at the Pilgrimage Eucharist. Keeping the memory of the saints and martyrs alive is something that has always been important in the life of the church. The Alban Pilgrimage does this in an exciting and engaging way which brings together people from across the country to remember a courageous act of love.”
Stuart Burns OSB said “2017 was my first experience of the Alban Pilgrimage. There was a wonderful mix of people; young and old and in-between, from all sorts of backgrounds, friends and strangers, some regular church-goers and others not, journeying together and finding the story of Alban, England’s first martyr, both a challenge and an encouragement. As we were coming out of the Cathedral at the end a young guy said to me, “I didn’t know church could be like this; that was really cool!”
The Very Revd. Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans Cathedral said: “The Alban Pilgrimage is one of the most important events in the Cathedral calendar and we are looking forward to welcoming both pilgrims and local people to our annual celebration of Britain’s first saint. St Alban’s story of faith, courage and Christian witness remain at the core of all we do at the Cathedral and is an integral part of the identity of the city today.”
The Alban Pilgrimage starts at 11am at St Peter's Church, St Albans.