Saint Adrian or Adrian of Nicomedia was a Herculian Guard of the Roman Emperor Galerius Maximian. After becoming a convert to Christianity with his wife Natalia, Adrian was martyred at Nicomedia on March 4, 306.
It is said that while presiding over the torture of a band of Christians, he asked them what reward they expected to receive from God. They replied, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). He was so amazed at their courage that he publicly confessed his faith, though he had not himself yet been baptised. He was then immediately imprisoned himself. He was forbidden visitors, but accounts state that his wife Natalia came to visit him dressed as a boy to ask for his prayers when he entered Heaven. (Natalia was secretly a believer).
The next day his limbs were struck off on an anvil, and he was then beheaded, dying in the arms of Natalia. After he was killed, Adrian and several other martyrs were taken to be burned. When the executioners began to burn their bodies, a thunderstorm arose and the furnace was extinguished; lightning killed several of the executioners. Natalia had to be restrained to not throw herself on the fire when Adrian’s body was being burned. Later, Christians took Adrian’s body and buried him on the outskirts of Byzantium, at Argyropolis.
Natalia went to live there herself, taking one of Adrian’s hands which she had recovered. When she herself died, she was buried with the martyrs.
(Photos: Wall paintings: Saint Adrian and Saint Natalia. Holy Wisdom of God Church, Kiev (1040-1050 AD)