The Martyrs Adrian and Natalia
Commemorated on August 26
The Martyrs Adrian
and Natalia were married in their youth for one year prior to their
martyrdom. They lived in Bithynian Nicomedia during the time of the emperor
Maximian (305-311). Having started his persecution, the emperor promised a
reward to whomever would inform on Christians to bring them to trial. There
began the denunciations, and through one of these there were seized 23
Christians, hiding in a cave near Nicomedia. They were tortured, urged to
worship idols, and then taken to the judgement palace, in order to record their
names and responses. Adrian, the head of the judgement palace, looking on as
they brought in the people suffering with such courage for their faith, and how
firmly and fearlessly they confessed Christ, asked: "What rewards do ye
expect from your God for suffering?" The martyrs replied: "Such
rewards, as we are not able to describe, nor thy mind comprehend".
Inspired, Saint Adrian told the scribes: "Write me down also, that I be a
Christian and with joy I do die for Christ God". The scribes reported
about this to the emperor, who summoned Saint Adrian and asked: "Really,
hast thou gone mad, that thou dost want to die? Come, cross out thine name from
the lists and offer sacrifice to the gods, asking their forgiveness".
Saint Adrian answered: "I am not mad, but the rather have been converted
to health of mind". Maximian then ordered Adrian to be thrown into prison.
His wife, Saint Natalia, knowing that her husband was suffering for Christ,
rejoiced, since she herself was secretly a Christian. She hastened to the
prison and encouraged her husband saying: "Blest be thou, mine lord, in
that thou hast believed on Christ, wherein thou hast obtained a great treasure.
Regret not anything of earth, neither beauty, nor youth (Adrian was then 28
years of age), nor riches. Everything worldly – is dust and ashes. Only faith
and good deeds be pleasing to God". On the pledge of the other martyrs,
they released Saint Adrian from prison to relate to his wife about the day of
execution. Saint Natalia at first 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 martyrdom, but rather had come
to give her the news of the day of his execution.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.