Alban, (d. c. 250 A.D.) is the earliest Christian in Britain who is known by name and, according to tradition, the first British martyr (a believer killed for their faith in Jesus).
Alban was a soldier in the Roman army. He gave shelter to a Christian priest who was fleeing from persecution, and was converted by him. When officers came to Alban’s house, he dressed himself in the garments of the priest and gave himself up. Alban was tortured and martyred in place of the priest, on the hilltop where the Cathedral of St. Alban’s now stands.
The Venerable Bede (a Christian historian in Anglo-Saxon England)
gives this account of Alban’s trial:
“When Alban was brought in, the judge happened to be standing before an altar, offering sacrifice to devils . . .
‘What is your family and race?’ demanded the judge.
‘How does my family concern you?’ replied Alban;
‘If you wish to know the truth about my religion, know that I am a Christian and am ready to do a Christian’s duty.’
‘I demand to know your name,’ insisted the judge. ‘Tell me at once.’
‘My parents named me Alban,’ he answered, ‘and I worship and adore the living and true God, who created all things.’ ”
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