Archbishop of Canterbury leads Pilgrimage event in St Albans

The Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby outside the abbey for the conclus

The Archbishop of Canterbury The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby outside the abbey for the conclusion of the Alban pilgrimage - Credit: Archant

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby addressed crowds from St Albans Town Hall as thousands of people took to the streets to join the Alban Pilgrimage procession last Saturday (20).

Giant puppets retold the story of Alban, Britain’s first saint, and the procession through the city centre involved hundreds of children dressed as Roman soldiers, lions, roses and stained glass windows watched by flag-waving crowds.

Commenting on the day, the Dean of St Albans, the Very Rev Jeffrey John, said: “The Pilgrimage this year was magnificent, and drew an even bigger crowd than before in an atmosphere of tremendous excitement and joy.

“The Archbishop of Canterbury kept saying how astonished he was at the scale of the procession and the numbers of adults and children involved.”

He thanked the district council, police, market and the fire brigade - who supplied the ‘miraculous’ spring - for their support.

The Archbishop said it was a ‘huge privilege and joy’ to take part in the Alban pilgrimage and described the festivities as expressing both the joy and cost of following Jesus.

He added: “As we remember the extraordinary example of St Alban, England’s first martyr, may we be moved to pray ever more fervently for those suffering for the Christian faith and be inspired by their living hope.”

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The Pilgrimage was also joined by the Archbishop of Rouen whose presence acknowledged the 900th anniversary of St Albans Cathedral which was completed and dedicated back in 1115. Services at the cathedral were full to capacity and visitors enjoyed a taste of the Caribbean at themed stalls as the diocese welcomed representatives from link dioceses in the Caribbean.

Saturday also saw the launch of the Alban’s Angels appeal to support the cathedral’s major development project which will transform the visitor and educational facilities at the Cathedral.

The Archbishop placed the very first angel on the cathedral’s ‘Angel Cloud’ which will be populated with a growing numbers of carved wooden angels as people sign up and support the fundraising scheme. For more details go to: