He might seem lost in the city but a giant puppet of Britain’s first saint, St Alban will find himself outside St Paul’s Cathedral to launch a new pilgrimage route in his name to encourage people to take time out of their busy city lives.
The new 35-mile route, St Alban Pilgrim Way from St Paul’s Cathedral to St Albans Cathedral has been designed in five stages to give everyone the chance to take a mini pilgrimage and also marks the opening of St Alban Cathedral’s lottery funded project, Alban Britain’s First Saint – a new visitor and welcome centre and exciting programme of events including a ten day Roman Festival which starts this weekend – to coincide with the annual St Alban Pilgrimage.
The Rev’d Canon Kevin Walton, Canon Chancellor at St Albans Cathedral said:
“St Albans to London is one of the busiest commuter routes in modern Britain. In this route we are offering a different kind of journey, away from the stress and busyness of modern living, and rediscovering our spirit and cultural roots as we tread the way from our vibrant capital to the home of Britain’s first saint.”
St Alban’s new visitor and welcome centre will enhance the visitor experience and this weekend will see free community events and the launch of a ten day Roman festival.
The Alban Pilgrimage will take place from 11am with people of all ages dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, angels and more and 12ft tall carnival puppets representing the key figures from the story of Alban taking to the streets to re-enact the historic events which led to his execution.
At the centre of its plans, the Cathedral is opening its new welcome and exhibition centre which offers new learning spaces and activities for schoolchildren and adults, and a new display area ‘The Power of Pilgrimage’
St Alban’s Day on 22 June marks the opening of the new centre start of a ten day Roman festival to celebrate St Alban who some argue should be England’s patron saint who died for his faith around 300 AD, close to the spot where St Albans Cathedral now stands, after giving shelter to a Christian priest fleeing persecution.
The project is supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund with match funding from over 1,000 individuals and organisations and is part of a programme of events and activities organised by St Albans Cathedral to attract new audiences.
Alban, Britain’s First Saint – National Lottery Heritage Fund funded project:
Find out more here > Alban, Britain’s First Saint