Photo Credit: Lambeth Palace
[Lambeth Palace] The Archbishop of Canterbury joined thousands on the streets of St Albans on Saturday for the annual Alban Pilgrimage.
The Alban Pilgrimage tells the story of Alban, Britain’s first saint, who was executed 1700 years ago for giving shelter to a Christian priest.
The Pilgrimage, which was also attended by the Archbishop of Rouen, Mgr Jean-Charles Descubes, took place on the final day of a three-day visit to the Diocese of St Albans.
During the procession, which ended at St Alban’s Cathedral, Archbishop Welby took to the balcony of St Alban’s Town Hall to speak to a large crowd about the example of St Alban.
“When we hear about St Alban we are hearing about someone who reckoned that standing for the truth and faithfulness to Jesus Christ was more important than his own life,” he said.
“And there are people all around the world who still think that today. They don't kill people and die doing it; they live in order to love - and that's what St Alban was doing.
“And at the heart of that is that Jesus Christ comes to us offering us his life if we give him our lives. And the life he gives us, as St Alban discovered, is more wonderful than anything we could imagine in the entire world, more wonderful than any other life we could have.”
Archbishop Justin went on to say that beneath the festivities lay “the serious challenge to each of us: have we found what it is to have the life of God inside us, and not just to be lookers on, but to have that life bubbling up that Alban found and he said was worth his life?”
Following the procession, the Archbishop preached at a special Eucharist at St Albans Cathedral.
Speaking after the pilgrimage, the Archbishop said: "It was a huge privilege and joy to take part in the Alban Pilgrimage, and I'm extremely grateful to both the Bishop and the Dean of St Albans for inviting me to do so.”
Archbishop Welby makes several visits to southern dioceses of the Church of England each year. Other recent visits have included the dioceses of Birmingham and Bristol.