3rd July (20th June O.S.):
- ADALBERT, a monk at St. Maximin in Trier who went to preach to the pagan Slavs. All his companions were killed by them, and he only escaped with difficulty (A.D. 961). He then became Abbot of Weißenburg and in A.D. 968 the first Archbishop of Magdeburg with jurisdiction over the western Slavs or Sorbs. St. Adalbert reposed A.D. 981.
- ALBAN — THE PROTOMARTYR OF BRITAIN,
TROPARION of ST. ALBAN — TONE IV In his struggle your holy martyr Alban, Gained the crown of life, O Christ our God. For strengthened by you and in purity of heart, He spoke boldly before the judges of this world, Offering up his head to you, the Judge of all!
St. Alban was a pagan living at Verulamium (present-day St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England) during a persecution of Christians that took place either circa A.D. 209 or A.D. 305.
The chief magistrate of Verulamium ordered that all the Christian priests be arrested, tortured, and then killed. A priest, known to us as Amphibalus, fled and St. Alban sheltered him in his home. The priest’s piety impressed St. Alban and he asked to be taught about the faith. St. Alban soon embraced Christ and was baptised by Amphibalus.
The authorities became aware that St. Alban was hiding a fugitive, and soldiers were sent to arrest the priest. As the soldiers arrived, St. Alban and Amphibalus exchanged cloaks, resulting in St. Alban’s arrest and Amphibalus’ escape. St. Alban was brought before the magistrate who was furious that St. Alban had helped the priest escape. However, he offered St. Alban the opportunity to be freed without punishment if St. Alban would renounce Christ, offer a sacrifice to idols, and reveal where Amphibalus was hiding. St. Alban replied that he was a Christian and worshiped the one true God. The magistrate had St. Alban beaten and tortured, and once again offered to free him if he renounced Christ. St. Alban again refused, rejoicing in the suffering he was experiencing for the glory of God. The magistrate then ordered that St. Alban be taken to Holmhurst Hill outside the village and beheaded.
In his Historia Ecclesiastica, St. Bede the Venerable (25th May) relates of several miracles associated with the story of St. Alban’s execution. One, that the bridge crossing a river which separated Verulamium and Holmhurst Hill, was full of people who had come to witness St. Alban’s martyrdom, preventing the execution party from continuing up the hill. St. Alban stood and prayed, making the Sign of the Cross over the river, which then parted, allowing the execution party to pass. The executioner was so astonished by this that he threw away his sword and refused to carry out the execution. He too was arrested and a replacement was selected. Another miracle linked to is that as they climbed Holmhurst Hill, St. Alban became thirsty and asked for water. At this point a small spring gushed forth and the saint was able to drink. Though the well is now dry, for many years pilgrims came to drink from this Holy Well. One of the last miracles connected to St. Alban’s martyrdom is that as the replacement executioner struck St. Alban’s head off, the executioner’s eyes came out of his head and fell to the ground. These miracles led to many conversions amongst the crowd of spectators.
The actual name of the priest St. Alban sheltered is unknown to us, though he has been called Amphibalus which was the word for the cloak the priest exchanged with St. Alban. It is believed he was captured several days after St. Alban’s martyrdom and executed at Redbourn, a few kilometres from Holmhurst Hill. All of the other details that have come down to us about this priest should be viewed with a fair degree of scepticism. The name of the first executioner is unknown to us as well.
- BAIN (BAINUS, BAGNUS), a monk at Fontenelle who became Bishop of Thérouanne. After twelve years he returned to Fontenelle and later served as Abbot. He reposed circa A.D. 710, and is the main patron-saint of Calais.
- FLORENTINA (FLORENCE), the only sister of SS. Leander (27th February), Fulgentius (16th January) and Isidore (4th April). After losing her parents at an early age, she was placed under the guardianship of St. Leander; going to a convent where she later became abbess, reposing circa A.D. 636.
- GOBAN (GOBAIN), a native of Ireland, who, as a disciple of St. Fursey (16th January), became a monk at Burgh Castle in Suffolk. He followed his abbot to France where they lived as hermits in the forest near the Oise. St. Goban was murdered by barbarians at the place now called Saint Gobain.
- GOVAN (GOVEN, COFEN), St. Govan was most likely an Irishman who had been a disciple of St. Ailbe of Emly (12th September) before he went to Wales. He lived there as an anchorite in a fissure in a cliff at what is now called St. Govan’s Head in Pembrokeshire. He is believed to have reposed circa A.D. 586 and to be buried under the altar of his hermitage.
- HELEN (HELIADA), an Abbess of the convent of Oehren in Trier, who reposed circa A.D. 750.
- NOVATUS, a son of Pudens, senator of Rome, and brother of SS. Praxedes (21st July) and Pudentiana (19th May), who reposed circa A.D. 151.
* - Prior to the Schism the Patriarchate of Rome was Orthodox and fully in communion with the Orthodox Church. As Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco +1966 said "The West was Orthodox for a thousand years, and her venerable Liturgy is far older than any of her heresies."
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