cotta or surplice has gradually been substituted for the alb in the case of all clerics save those in greater orders, i.e. subdeacon, deacon, priest, and bishop. At present the alb is little used outside the time of Mass. At all other functions it is permissible for priests to wear a surplice.
Beyond a certain enlargement or contraction as to lateral dimensions, no great change has taken place in the shape of the alb since the ninth century. In the Middle Ages the vestment seems to have been made to fit pretty closely around the waist, but it broadened out below so that the lower edge, in some cases, measured as much as five yards, or more, in circumference. No doubt in practice it was pleated and made to hang tolerably close to the figure. Towards the end of the sixteenth century again, when voluminous garments were everywhere in vogue, St. Charles Borromeo prescribed a circumference of over seven yards for the bottom of the alb. But his regulation, though approved, cannot be said to make a law for the Church at large.
Much greater diversity has been shown in the ornamentation of the alb. In the early ages we find the lower edge decorated with a border sometimes both rich and deep. Similar embroideries adorned the wrists and the caputium (head opening), i.e. the neck. In the thirteenth century the fashion of "apparels", which apparently originated in the north of France, rapidly became general. These were oblong patches of rich brocade, or embroidery, sewn on to the lower part of the alb both before and behind. Similar patches were attached to the wrists, producing almost the effect of a pair of cuffs. Another patch was often sewn on to the breast or back, sometimes to both. To these apparels many names were given. The commonest were paruræ, plagulæ, grammata, gemmata. This custom, though it lingered on for centuries, and in Milan survives until the present day, gave way finally before the introduction of lace as an ornament. The use of lace, though permitted, ought never to lose the character of a pure decoration. Albs, with lace reaching above the knees, are not, strictly speaking, en règle, though there is a special decree of 16 June, 1893, tolerating albs with lace below the cincture for canons at Mass, on solemn feast days. Formerly a decree of the Congregation of Rites prohibited any coloured lining behind the flounce, or cuffs, or lace with which the alb might be decorated, but a more recent decree (12 July, 1892) sanctioned the practice. In point of material the alb must be made of linen (woven of flax or hemp); hence cotton or wool are forbidden. The colour must now be white. Much discussion has been caused by the frequent occurrence in medieval inventories of albs which apparently comply with neither of these regulations. Not only do we read of blue, red, and even black albs, but albs of silk, velvet, and cloth of gold are frequently mentioned. It has been contended that in many cases such designations must be regarded as referring to the apparels with which the albs were adorned; also that the albs of silk, velvet, etc. were probably tunicles or dalmatics. But there is a residue of cases which it is impossible to explain satisfactorily, and the prevalence at least of blue albs seems to be proved by the miniatures of early manuscripts. Moreover, the use of silk and colours instead of albs of white linen has lasted on in isolated instances, both in East and West, down to our own days. It may be added that, like other sacerdotal vestments, the alb needs to be blessed before use.
J. Braun, Die priesterlichen Gewänder des Abendlandes (Freiburg, 1897), 16–43. This in the only satisfactory treatise which embraces the whole field. Rock, The Church of our Fathers (2d ed., London. 1903), I, 347–73; Duchesne, Christian Worship (tr., London, 1903), 381; Macalister, Ecclesiastical Vestments (London, 1894); Marriott, Vestiarium Christianum (London, 1868); The Month, September, 1898, 269–77; Barbier de Montault, Le costume et les usages ecclésiastiques, II, 231–242 (Paris, 1900); Kraus, Real-Encyclopädie, s.v. Albe; Rohault de Fleury, La Messe (Paris, 1889), VII, 11–26; Bock, Die liturgischen Gewänder des Mittelalters, II, 31–50 (Bonn, 1866); Hinz, Die Schatzkammer der Marienkirche zu Danzig (Danzig, 1870); Von Hefele, Beiträge, II, 167–174 (Tübingen, 1864); Braun, Zeitschrift f. christ. Kunst, art. Vestments of the Castle of St. Elia, XII, 352–55 (1900).
Alba, Juan de. See Albi.
Alba Julia. See Fogaras.
Alba Pompeia, Diocese of, comprises eighty towns in the province of Cuneo and two in the province of Alexandria, in Italy. Heading the list of the bishops of Alba is a St. Dionysius, of whom we are told that after serving there for some years he became Archbishop of Milan. He was the Dionysius who so energetically opposed the Arian heresy, and was exiled in the year 355, by the Emperor Constans. Papebroch (Acta SS., VI, 40) disputes the reliability of this tradition, since a bishop of that period was forbidden to leave his diocese for another. A list of nine early bishops of Alba, from another St. Dionysius (380) down to a Bishop Julius (553) was compiled from sepulchral inscriptions found in the cathedral of alba towards the end of the fifteenth century by Dalmazzo Berendenco, an antiquarian. De Rossi, however, on examination proved it a forgery (Boll. di Arch. Crist., 1868, 45–47). The first bishop of Alba of whose existence we are certain is Lampradius who was present at the synod held in Rome (499) under Pope Symmachus. (Mansi, VIII, 235, Mon. Germ. Hist., Auct. Antiq. XII, 400.) In the series of bishops, Benzo is notable as an adversary of Gregory VII and a partisan of the Empire in the struggle of the Investitures. (Orsi, "Un libellista del sec. XI", in "Rivista storica Italiana", 1884, p. 427.) The diocese contains 101 parishes; 276 secular priests; 11 regulars; 403 churches and chapels; 10 seminaries.
Ughelli, Italia sacra (Venice, 1722), IV, 281; Cappelletti, Le chiese d'Italia (Venice, 1866), XIV, 159; Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiæ catholicæ (Ratisbon, 1873), 809; Savio, Gli antichi vescovi d'Italia dalle origini al 1300, descritti per regioni (Turin, 1899), 49; Vernazza, Romanorum litterata monumenta Albæ Pompeiæ civitatem et agrum illustrantia (Turin, 1787); Cappelli, Notizie storiche della città d'Alba (Turin, 1788).
Alba Reale. See Stuhlweissenburg.
Alban, Saint, first martyr of Britain, suffered c. 304. The commonly received account of the martyrdom of St. Alban meets us as early as the pages of Bede's "Ecclesiastical History" (Bk. I, chs. vii and xviii). According to this, St. Alban was a pagan living at Verulamium (now the town of St. Albans in Hertfordshire), when a persecution of the Christians broke out, and a certain cleric flying for his life took refuge in Alban's house. Alban sheltered him, and after some days, moved by his example, himself received baptism. Later on, when the governor's emissaries came to search the house, Alban disguised himself in the cloak of his guest and gave himself up in his place. He was dragged before the judge, scourged, and, when he would not deny his faith, condemned to death. On the way to the place of execution Alban arrested the waters of a river so that they crossed dry-shod, and he further caused a fountain of water to flow on the summit of the hill on which he was beheaded. His executioner was converted, and the man who replaced him, after striking the fatal blow, was punished with blindness. A later development in the legend informs us that the cleric's name was Amphibalus, and that he, with some companions, was stoned to death a few days afterwards at Redbourn, four miles from St. Albans. What germ of truth may underlie these legends it is difficult to decide. The first authority to mention St. Alban is Constantius, in his Life of St. Germanus