Saturday, 14 May 2011

St Albans Cathedral Abbey

The only Englishman, who has ever been Pope,was Nicholas Breakspeare. He was born near St Albans in Kings Langley. His father became a monk in the abbey but Nicholas was considered too uneducated to enter the monastery although he had attended the abbery school.

Presumably disappointed by not being accepted at St Albans, Nicholas went to France and became a novice at St Rufus in Avignon where he later became prior.

Nicholas was noticed by Pope Eugenius III and subsequently became a cardinal. In 1154 Nicholas became Pope Adrian IV.

Modern day visitors to the abbey can see a statue of Nicholas aka Adrian stands on the ornately carved screen of the High Altar.

Although the abbey had rejected the young Nicholas, he favoured it and freed the abbey from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Lincoln by granting the Abbot of St Albans permission to wear the mitre. This gave him precedence in the Benedictine hierarchy.

To this day the Cathedral Abbey of St Albans continues to flourish and is a vibrant part of the community.

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