Modern Martyrs Lecture Series

In the spring the Cathedral Study Centre, hosted the Modern Martyrs Lecture Series to mark 'Dedication 900' in parternership with the Friends of St Albans Abbey, reflecting on martyrs in our own time. The lectures focused on three of the new martyrs depicted in statues on the Nave screen who represent some of our ecumenical congregations.

Listen again to these fascinating lectures given by experts of Archbishop Oscar Romero, Saint Elisabeth Romanova and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

'Modern Martyrs' Dedication 900 Lectures

Blood and Sweat: the Witness of Oscar Romero's Life & Death

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Jan Graffius is Curator of the extraordinary collections held at the Jesuit College at Stonyhurst in Lancashire, which has good claim to be the oldest museum in Britain. Her work with their unique collection of English Catholic relics and artefacts led directly to her involvement in the Romero Trust project to conserve the relics and possessions of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered by Salvadoran death squads in 1980, and who appears among the new martyr statues being installed at St Albans Cathedral. Romero's poignant bloodstained clothing and his simple possessions are preserved today in his tiny house in San Salvador, where they are a focus for pilgrims worldwide. Jan's work has revealed some startling insights into Romero's life and the last few seconds before his death. Such insights are valuable in a world where truth and justice are all too often clouded by powerful vested interests, and, with the likelihood of Romero's imminent beatification by the Vatican, this is a story with deep relevance for our own times.

Tutor:Jan Graffius, Curator of Stonyhurst College

From Princess to Holy Martyr: Saint Elisabeth Romanova

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From modest beginnings to the apex of incalculable wealth at the heart of the imperial Russian court to the poverty of imprisonment and the horror of brutal death, From Princess to Holy Martyr tells the story of Ella, Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, wife of assassinated Grand Duke Serge Alexandrovich, sister of the last Russian tsarina, and ordained abbess of the nursing Order of Saints Martha and Mary which she established to help the needy of Moscow. Today, she is revered as the Holy Imperial Martyr Saint Elisabeth Romanova.

Tutor: Christopher Warwick, biographer of St Elisabeth

Penultimate Things: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Guardianship of Culture

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This lecture will discuss the cultural subtext to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s writing, which is often overlooked. Bonhoeffer’s background was the culturally sophisticated intelligentsia of Wilhelmine Society. When his native culture was thrown into crisis by Nazi misappropriation during the 1930s however, he reacts by criticising some aspects of German cultural expression and insisting only on uncompromising discipleship. Nonetheless, in his final years he undergoes a rediscovery of his Wilhelmine inheritance, as he comes to see the guardianship of culture as part of a broad compass of responsibility for others in the name of Christ.

Tutor: Jacob Phillips, Kings College, London

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