Saints Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia

A young couple, martyred in the 4th century.

Saints Adrian and Natalia of Nicomedia

Adrian, sometimes Hadrian, was an imperial guardsman overseeing the interviews of some twenty-odd Christians in a cave near Nicomedia, in today's northwest Turkey. The Christians were being mercilessly tortured, and Adrian was recording the names of those who refused to renounce their faith.

Struck by their calmness facing certain death, he asked one how such courage was possible. The man quoted 1 Corinthians: "No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him." Adrian turned to one of his colleagues, and said he'd better write down his own name too.

Natalia was Adrian's wife, already a secret Christian. They had been married for only a year. Disguising herself as a boy, she visited him in prison to offer prayers and encouragement now that he, so suddenly converted, was also sentenced to die. In the course of his execution, they chopped off his hand, and Natalia took it home.

Before long, the Emperor tried to force the young widow to marry another Roman officer, but Natalia went into hiding, living near her husband's tomb, until, worn out by her suffering, she died in her sleep, a martyr in her own way.