Who We Are
What We Believe
St. Alban's is the second-oldest Anglican parish, with the oldest Anglican church building, in Ottawa. Thomas Fuller, the senior architect responsible for building the Centre Block of Parliament, designed "a most beautiful, well-proportioned church of Early English style" with "transepts, chancel ... a fine tower and spire" for this congregation. However, the difficult site on a steep side of Sandy Hill made it financially impossible to build to Fuller's plans, so his pupil King Arnoldi was hired to revise them. Arnoldi used as much of Fuller's design as he could, but originally omitted the chancel, tower, transepts and spire; the chancel and transepts were not built until 1877.
St. Alban the Martyr Church represented the height of early Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture in the Ottawa region. Unlike previous churches -- which were supported by government grants, pew rents and well-to-do parishioners -- this church was completely funded by voluntary contributions, and all seats were free. As the church in which Sir John A. Macdonald and many cabinet ministers worshipped, it set the tone of architecture for the larger churches built in the region for decades to come. Notable architectural features include the low stone walls, lancet arches, bell-cote and interior stencil work.
Story of St. Alban
This is the story of our namesake St. Alban told by the Venerable Bede in his "History of the English Church and People," written about 731 A.D.:
It was necessary to cross the river Ver to reach the hill where executions were routinely carried out. At the bridge, a crowd looking for entertainment, delayed the soldiers for some time and Alban, being eager to meet his death, prayed for a quick end. The soldiers derided him but when his prayer was answered by the river drying to provide a wide clear crossing, they panicked. The terrified the executioner threw away his sword and falling at Alban's feet asked for mercy. Eventually another soldier took up the sword, the troop moved to the hill and Alban was beheaded.
Alban was the first Christian to die for his faith in England and often is called the proto-martyr of Britain. It is believed that his death occurred about 209 A.D.
© 2004 St. Alban's Anglican Church