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Saint Adrian of Nicodemia

Saint Adrian (sometimes known as Saint Hadrian) was born during the time of Emperor Maximian (Roman Emperor of the West - Diocletian was emperor of the East during the time) and at the age of 28 was the head of the praetorian guard. When the persecutions of the time began, 23 Christians were found and arrested near the town of Nicodemia. They were immediately brought before the Praetor to record their names and responses to the charges of being Christian that had been brought against them.

As he presided over their torture, Saint Adrian asked them :

"What rewards do you expect from your God for your suffering?"

The Christians being mercilessly tortured and knowing they would be executed replied with:

"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."

Upon hearing this, Saint Adrian was so overwhelmed by their response that he immediately told the scribes:

"Write my name down also, for I am a Christian and I die gladly for Christ God."

The scribes immediately sent word to the Emperor Maximian who in turn summoned him. When the emperor asked him if he had gone mad and offered the opportunity to renounce his decision for Christ, Saint Adrian replied with :

"I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it."

The emperor did not hesitate and put him into jail to await torture and death. Though they had been married only a year, his wife Saint Natalia had secretly converted herself and visited Saint Adrian in prison frequently, disguising herself as a boy. Each time she visited, she would continue to encourage him to stand fast in his faith. At one point during the torture, his hands and legs were placed on anvils to be smashed with hammers. Saint Adrian never lost his faith.

The emperor ordered his body burned when he passed, but a miraculous storm arose and blew the fire out before he could be burned. Saint Natalia was able to take the severed hand of her husband during the chaos, where it was kept at home.

Both Saints are venerated in the Coptic Orthodox Church and Eastern Orthodox Church where only Adrian is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church. Second only to Saint George, he remained the chief military saint of Northern Europe for many years and is revered in Flanders, Germany, and Northern France.

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