Martyrs Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia - August 26
The Martyrs Adrian and Natalia were married in their
youth for one year prior to their martyrdom, and lived in Nicomedia during the
time of the emperor Maximian (305-311). The emperor promised a reward to
whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. Then the
denunciations began, and twenty-three Christians were captured in a cave near Nicomedia.
They were tortured, urged to worship idols, and then
brought before the Praetor, in order to record their names and responses. Adrian, the head of the
praetorium, watched as these people suffered with such courage for their faith.
Seeing how firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, asked: "What
rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?" The martyrs
replied: "Such rewards as we are not able to describe, nor can your mind
comprehend." St Adrian told the scribes,"Write my name down also, for
I am a Christian and I die gladly for Christ God."
The scribes reported this to the emperor, who summoned
St Adrian and asked: "Really, have you gone mad, that you want to die?
Come, cross out your name from the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods,
asking their forgiveness."
St Adrian answered: "I have not lost my mind, but
rather have I found it." Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison. His wife, St
Natalia, knowing that her husband was to suffer for Christ, rejoiced, since she
herself was secretly a Christian.
She hastened to the prison and encouraged her husband
saying: "You are blessed, my lord, because you have believed in Christ.
You have obtained a great treasure. Do not regret anything earthly, neither
beauty, nor youth (Adrian
was then 28 years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly is dust and ashes.
Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God."
On the pledge of the other martyrs, they released St
Adrian from prison to tell his wife about the day of his execution. At first St Natalia
thought that he had renounced Christ and thus had been set free, and she did
not want to let him into the house. The saint persuaded his wife that he had
not fled from martyrdom, but rather had come to give her the news of the day of
They tortured St Adrian cruelly. The emperor advised the
saint to have pity on himself and call on the gods, but the martyr answered:
"Let your gods say what blessings they promise me, and then I shall
worship them, but if they cannot do this, then why should I worship them?"
St Natalia did not cease to encourage her husband. She asked him also to pray
to God for her, that they would not force her into marriage with a pagan after
The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the
saints to be broken on the anvil. St Natalia, fearing that her husband would
hesitate on seeing the sufferings of the other martyrs, asked the executioner
to begin with him, and permit her to put his hands and legs on the anvil
They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a
storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners even were struck by
lightning. St Natalia took the hand of her husband and kept it at home. Soon an
army commander asked the emperor's approval to wed St Natalia, who was both
young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. St Adrian appeared to her in a
dream and said that she would soon be at rest in the Lord. The martyr, worn out
by her former sufferings, in fact soon fell asleep in the Lord. Troparion - Tone 4 Your holy martyrs Adrian and Natalia, O Lord, through their sufferings have received incorruptible
crowns from You, our God. For having Your strength, they laid low their
adversaries, and shattered the powerless boldness of demons. Through their intercessions, save our souls!
Kontakion - Tone 4 Martyr of Christ, Adrian,you kept the words of your godly and devoted wife
Natalia in your heart. With her you accepted every kind of suffering and
obtained the crown of victory!