This Friday, June 22, is the traditional feast of the Protomartyr of Britain, St. Alban. His cultus was key in the foundation of the patrimony, and to-day he has two shrines: the medieval one in Cologne, and the revived one in the English city that bears his name. The latter, located in the beautiful gothic church of a Catholic-Abbey-turned-Anglican-Cathedral, is once more the centre of pilgrimage. A Catholic Mass is offered there every Friday which means, this year, on the old feast day itself! St. Albans Cathedral was also the boyhood parish of Inkling Charles Williams. The local Catholic parish is the Church of Ss. Alban and Stephen. In the current calendar, the 22nd is the feast of Ss. John Fisher and Thomas More; in the Ordinariates, St.Alban is anticipated on June 20. It does make sense that the protomartyrs of the English “Reformation” should be honoured on that day.
Because of St. Alban’s 3rd century martyrdom, the Abbey founded to house his shrine claimed seniority among the Benedictine houses in England – a claim disputed by Glastonbury Abbey, due to its connexion with St. Joseph of Arimathaea. This controversy went on for centuries, until Henry VIII put an end to it by dissolving them both. In any case, this week should remind us of the ancient roots of the Patrimony and of Recusant Catholicism, to which the Oridnariates and their members are heir.