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Adrian & Natalia the Martyrs & their 33 Companion Martyrs in Nicomedea (26 August)

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, he 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.” Saint 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 Saint 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.”

Saint 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, Saint 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 Saint Adrian from prison to tell his wife about the day of his execution. At first Saint 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 his execution.

They tortured Saint 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?” Saint 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 his death.

The executioner ordered the hands and the legs of the saints to be broken on the anvil. Saint 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 herself.

They wanted to burn the bodies of the saints, but a storm arose and the fire went out. Many of the executioners were even struck by lightning. Saint Natalia took the hand of her husband and kept it at home. Soon an army commander asked the emperor’s approval to wed Saint Natalia, who was both young and rich. But she hid herself away in Byzantium. Saint 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.

Saints Adrian and Natalia are the patrons of married couples, as are Saints Timothy and Maura (May 3). The Kykkos Monastery on Cyprus has a portion of Saint Natalia’s relics.

The holy Martyrs Adrian and Natalie confessed the Christian Faith during the reign of Maximian, in Nicomedia, in the year 298. Adrian was a pagan; witnessing the valor of the Martyrs, and the fervent faith with which they suffered their torments, he also declared himself a Christian and was imprisoned. When this was told to his wife Natalie, who was secretly a believer, she visited him in prison and encouraged him in his sufferings. Saint Adrian’s hands and feet were placed on an anvil and broken off with a hammer; he died in his torments. His blessed wife recovered part of his holy relics and took it to Argyropolis near Byzantium, and reposed in peace soon after.

Adrian and Natalia were husband and wife, both of noble and wealthy families from Nicomedia. Adrian was a pagan and the head of the Praetorium. Natalia was secretly a Christian. They were both young and lived together in marriage for only thirteen months before their martyrdom. When the wicked (nefarious) Emperor Maximian visited Nicomedia, he ordered that Christians be seized and subjected to torture. Twenty-three Christians were hidden in a cave near the city. Someone reported them to the authorities. They were cruelly flogged with oxen whips, beaten with rods, and cast into prison.

Soon they were taken before the Praetor to register their names. Adrian observed these people–serene and meek, tortured but patient. He made them swear to tell him what they thought their God would give them for enduring so many tortures? They told him of the blessedness of the righteous in the Kingdom of God. With that, Adrian turned to the scribe at once and said to him: “Write my name with these saints–I also am a Christian.” When the emperor learned of this, he asked Adrian: “Have you gone out of your mind?” Adrian replied: “I have not gone out of my mind–rather, I have come to my senses.”

When she heard of this, Natalia greatly rejoiced. As Adrian sat with the others, chained and in prison, she came and ministered to all of them. When they flogged and intensely tortured her husband, Natalia encouraged him to endure to the end. After lengthy tortures and imprisonment, the emperor ordered that the prisoners’ arms and legs be broken with a hammer and anvil. This was done. With twenty-three fellow Christian men, Adrian gave up the spirit under the greatest of tortures.

Natalia took their relics to Argyropolis (near Constantinople) and honorably buried them there. After a few days, Adrian appeared to her in heavenly radiance and called out that she should also come to God, and she peacefully gave up her spirit to God.

Apolytikion of Martyrs Adrian and Natalie

Third Tone

Thou didst deem that Faith which hath salvation to be riches never lost or plundered. Thou forsookest thy fathers’ impiety, and thou didst follow thy Master, becoming rich in His divine gifts, O glorious Adrian. With the godly-minded Natalie, who emboldened thee, entreat Christ God, O Martyr, that our souls be saved.

Kontakion of Martyrs Adrian and Natalie

Fourth Tone

Having wisely laid to heart all the divine words of thy godly-minded wife, Adrian, Martyr of Christ God, in torments thou strovest ardently; and with thy yoke-mate thou now hast received thy crown.

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