Sts. Adrian and his wife Natalia
Adrian died at Nicomedia on March 4, c. 304; other feasts
for the martyr are celebrated on March 4 and August 26; and
September 8 is the date of the translation of his relics to
Saint Adrian, a Roman imperial officer (either a pagan or a
catechumen), watched as 23 Christians were being beaten
before Emperor Maximian at the imperial court of Nicomedia.
Their bravery prompted him to cry out, "Let me be counted as
one of these, for I too am a Christian."
When his Christian wife of 13 months, Natalia, learned the
reason for her husband's arrest, she was extremely proud.
She ministered to Adrian and his fellow prisoners, who
suffered excruciating tortures, and arranged for her husband
to be catechized while interned. After Adrian had been
sentenced to death, visitors were forbidden, but Natalia
disguised herself as a boy and bribed her way into the
prison to ask Adrian's prayers for her in heaven.
Natalia accompanied her husband to the executioner's block
where he was to be cut to pieces. As the axe dismembered
Adrian over an anvil, Natalia managed to save one of his
hands. Distraught, she had to be restrained from casting
herself into the fire when Adrian's body was burned with
those of other martyrs. A rain storm extinguished the fire,
allowing the Christians to gather the remains and bury them.
(Another version of the story relates that the prisoners
were to be burned to death, but the rain put out the fire.)
few months later a pagan official began pestering Natalia to
marry him. She had no intention of consorting with the
heathen who had been responsible for Saint Adrian's death.
She set sail to Argyropolis on the Bosporus, near
Constantinople, taking her husband's hand with her. There
she died peacefully on December 1 and is said to have been
buried among the martyrs. Adrian's relics were later
translated to Rome, then to Decline, Flanders, where they
were placed by Count Baldwin VI in the abbey now named Saint
Adrian (if I understood this circuitous tale correctly).
Many miracles were wrought at this shrine and attributed to
unknown which version or how much of this romantic story is
true. There were two martyrs named Adrian who suffered at
Nicomedia: one under Diocletian and the other under Licinius
(Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Husenbeth,