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Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia
Saint Adrian and his wife, Saint Natalia
Died 4 March 306

Saint Adrian (also known as Hadrian) or Adrian of Nicomedia was a Herculian Guard of the Roman Emperor Galerius Maximian. After becoming a convert to Christianity with his wife Natalia, Adrian was martyred at Nicomedia on March 4, 306.[2]

Martyrdom[edit | edit source]

French statue of Saint Adrian

Ss. Adrian and Natalia lived in Nicomedia during the time of Emperor Maximian in the early fourth century.[3] The twenty-eight year old Adrian was head of the praetorium.[3]

It is said that while presiding over the torture of a band of Christians, he asked them what reward they expected to receive from God. They replied, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9). He was so amazed at their courage that he publicly confessed his faith, though he had not himself yet been baptised. He was then immediately imprisoned himself. He was forbidden visitors, but accounts state that his wife Natalia came to visit him dressed as a boy to ask for his prayers when he entered Heaven.[4] The executioners wanted to burn the bodies of the dead, but a storm arose and quenched the fire.[5] Natalia recovered one of Adrian's hands. Later, Christians took Adrian's body and buried him on the outskirts of Byzantium, at Argyropolis. Natalia went to live there, and when she herself died, she was buried with the martyrs.

Historicity[edit | edit source]

The accuracy of the recorded story has been questioned. Some sources state that there were actually two Adrians martyred at Nicomedia, one under Diocletian, and one under Licinius.[4]

Feast day and patronage[edit | edit source]

Russian Orthodox icon of the martyrs Adrian and Natalia.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Hadrian shares a feast day with his wife on September 8; he also has feast days alone on March 4 and August 26. In the Roman Catholic Church he is venerated alone, without his wife, on 8 September.[6]

Saint Hadrian is protector against the plague, and patron of old soldiers, arms dealers, butchers and communications phenomena. He was the chief military saint of Northern Europe for many ages, second only to St. George, and is much revered in Flanders, Germany and the north of France. He is usually represented armed, with an anvil in his hands or at his feet.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jones, Terry. "Adrian of Nicomedia". Patron Saints Index. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080101163125/http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/sainta43.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  2. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cathen
  3. 3.0 3.1 "St. Natalia, Martyr", Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
  4. 4.0 4.1 "St. Adrian". Catholic Online Saints & Angels. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080303124352/http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=253. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  5. "Martyr Adrian of Nicomedia", Orthodox Church in America
  6. Martyrologium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John (1993). The Penguin Dictionary of Saints (3 ed.). New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-051312-4. 

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