Giant carnival puppets will line the historic streets of St Albans this month to retell the remarkable and moving story of Britain’s first saint, Alban.
On Saturday, June 21, 12-foot tall puppets followed by a procession of thousands will make their way from St Peter’s Church attracting visitors, pilgrims and preachers from around the world.
Onlookers will watch stunning carnival puppets dramatise St Albans' story accompanied by hundreds of children and adults dressed as angels, centurions, lions, roman soldiers and roses as they make their journey through the city to St Albans Cathedral.
Alban died on June 22 more 1700 years ago, and on the nearest Saturday to his death, a national pilgrimage is held in his honour.
He was executed for giving shelter to a Christian priest named Amphibalus who was fleeing persecution by the Romans. Moved by the priest's faith, Alban became a Christian and the two men swapped cloaks, enabling the priest to escape. Alban was arrested instead, brought to trial and beheaded on the hill where the Abbey now stands.
Canon Kevin Walton said: "The story of St Alban not only belongs to the whole of our community, he is also Britain's first saint. We hope to welcome thousands for this great celebration and spectacle."
The Alban Pilgrimage will begin at 11am. There are special services at the Cathedral throughout the day - Eucharist at 12pm Preacher: Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church; Evensong at 4pm - Preacher: John Bell of the Iona Community.