St. Adrian

Facts On The Saint

Feastday: September 8
Patron: of plague, epilepsy, arms dealers, butchers, guards, soldiers
Death: 306
According to legend Adrian was a pagan officer at the imperial court of Nicomedia. Impressed by the courage of a group of Christians who were being tortured, he declared himself a Christian and was imprisoned with them and suffered excruciating tortures before he was put to death.
His young wife, Natalia, who was present at his death, comforted him in his agony, recovered one of his severed hands, and took it to Argyropolis near Constantinople, where she fled to escape the importunities of an imperial official of Nicomedia who wanted to marry her.
She died there peacefully on December 1. Adrian is the patron of soldiers and butchers.

Historicity

The accuracy of the recorded story has been questioned. A second Hadrian, is said to have been a son of the Emperor Probus, and, having embraced Christianity, to have been put to death (A.D. 320), at Nicomedia in Asia Minor, by the Emperor Licinius. But no reliable information concerning him is extant. He is commemorated on August 26.

Feast day and patronage

Russian Orthodox icon of the martyrs Adrian and Natalia.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Adrian shares a feast day with his wife on 8 September; he also has feast days alone on 4 March. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is venerated alone, without his wife, on September 8.The Coptic Orthodox Church likewise venerates St. Adrian and his companions on the third day of the Coptic month known as Nesi (corresponding to September 8), mentioning his wife’s role during the Synaxarion reading of that day; spelling in the Coptic Synaxarion (likely a result of translating from Arabic to English) yields the names Andrianus and Anatolia.

Saint Hadrian was the chief military saint of Northern Europe for many ages, second only to Saint George, and is much revered in Flanders, Germany and the north of France. He is usually represented armed, with an anvil in his hands or at his feet.

Sant’Adriano al Foro, a church in the Roman Forum (founded AD 630), was named in his honour. The name was later transferred to Santa Maria della Mercede e Sant’Adriano a Villa Albani (1958) when the old church was demolished.