Saturday, August 07, 2004

HYW(Duncan2): Saint Alban

A Relic for Douglas, Lord of the Isle of Man, sent by Pope Benedict XII along with the story of Saint Alban.

Oh noble and mighty William, powerful leader of Crusaders in Prussia. Our great victory against the Pagans would not have been possible without your bold charge at Grunwald or your defence of the camp at Marionburg.

In gratitude we send to you this precious relic. Find enclosed in a gold and ivory box the venerated cape of Saint Alban. Alban was a warrior like yourself who, though a pagan, took pity on the persecuted Christains and helped many escape martyrdom. A great risk, he saw a fleeing Christian priest and sheltered him in his own home. When he saw that the priest spent day and night in prayer, he was moved by the grace of God. Alban renounced his idol worship and embraced Christ with his whole heart.

When a party of soldiers came to arrest the priest, tipped off by a neighbor, Alban took the priest's cloak and put it over his own head and shoulders, and helped him to escape. Thus disguised, Alban opened the door to the soldiers and was arrested in mistake for the priest. He was bound in fetters and brought before the governor, who was attending a sacrifice to the pagan gods. When the cloak was removed and his true identity was discovered, the governor was furious. He then declared himself to be a Christian, whereupon the governor angrily ordered him to be taken before the altar. He was threatened with all the tortures that had been prepared for the priest if he did not recant.

Alban did not recant the true faith. He was scourged, but bore the punishment with resignation, even joy. When it was seen that he could not be prevailed upon to retract, he was sentenced to decapitation. Being lead to his execution there was such a crown gathered to witness his grace and joy that the bridge was blocked by the throng. So Alban prayed and crossed upon the river to his maryrdom. But, the exectuioner was amazed and converted to the true faith. Another was found to kill them both as well as the priest. After Alban's death more miracles followed and the whole town, including the governor became Christians.

So as Alban brought Christianity to a sizable portion of Britain, did you bring the true faith to Prussia with your fellow crusaders. Now accept this cloak as a gift for your sared and blessed service.

Benedict XII Pontifex Maximus


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