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Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 15:35 GMT 16:35 UK
Relic of St Alban returns
St Alban's Cathedral
A service was held to receive the relic
A bone believed to be a relic of St Alban, the first British martyr, has been returned to Hertfordshire.

A group from the church of St Pantaleon in Cologne, Germany, presented St Albans Cathedral with the bone which was placed inside the restored 13th Century saint's shrine on Saturday.

St Alban was executed for his Christian faith near the Roman City of Verulamium - modern-day St Albans - in about 250.

The Roman Catholic Church of St Pantaleon has had St Alban's remains since the 10th Century.

The bone relic was received by St Albans Cathedral at a service of Choral Evensong and was then placed inside the recently restored shrine pedestal.

Saint Alban
Saint Alban was Britain's first martyr

The Very Reverend Christopher Lewis, Dean of St Albans, said: "The shrine is arranged as a place of burial and the inclusion of this relic will enhance it as a sign of our faith in the resurrection of the dead and our belief in the communion of the saints.

"The acceptance of this generous gift will be a powerful symbol of the way in which the church is working towards unity.

"Whether these relics are the bones of Saint Alban can never be known for certain but there is a distinct possibility that they are."

When St Alban died he was buried on the hillside where he died.

A church was then built on the site and this shrine was visited in 429 by Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, who had been sent to Britain to preach against heresy.

In return for his gifts of relics of other saints, he was given bones of Saint Alban. This was a common practice of the time.


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24 Jun 02 | England
28 Jun 02 | Wales
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