Saint Adrian 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.
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.
The next day his limbs were struck off on an anvil, and he was then beheaded, dying in the arms of Natalia. After he was killed, Adrian and several other martyrs were taken to be burned. When the executioners began to burn their bodies, a thunderstorm arose and the furnace was extinguished; lightning killed several of the executioners. Natalia had to be restrained to not throw herself on the fire when Adrian's body was being burned. Later, Christians took Adrian's body and buried him on the outskirts of Byzantium, at Argyropolis.
Natalia went to live there herself, taking one of Adrian's hands which she had recovered. When she herself died, she was buried with the martyrs.
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.
Feast day and patronage
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. However, because of how little is known of this Eastern martyr, whose insertion into the Roman calendar was due to the dedication to him of the church into which Pope Honorius I converted the Curia Julia, his liturgical celebration is no longer included among those to be commemorated universally, wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated.
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