Saints and Their Symbols – Saint Adrian

chiaroscuro drawing of Saint Adrian of Nicomedia by Hans Holbein the Younger, c.1521; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

A.D. 290, September 8, patron saint of Flanders and Germany, of soldiers, and against the plague, was long considered in the North of Europe the chief military saint next to Saint George. He was born of a noble Roman family, and served in the army under the Emperor Galerius Maximian. When superintending the martyrdom of some Christians during the tenth persecution, he was so struck by their constancy that he was himself converted. His wife NATALIA was already a Christian, though secretly, and when Adrian was imprisoned for the faith she comforted and strengthened him, greatly rejoicing that he was found worthy to suffer for Christ. When she was forbidden to see him, she disguised herself as a man, and thus visited him in prison and supported him in the intervals of torture. Adrian was martyred by ‘having his limbs struck off on an anvil, and then being beheaded. He died in the arms of Natalia, and was buried at Byzantium. Soon after this the Emperor wished to make Natalia marry one of his officers, but she fled to Byzantium, and lived near the tomb of her husband where she was comforted with many visions of him. And soon her pure spirit was released that she might follow him, and when she died Adrian with angels met her, and together they entered the presence of God. Natalia is one of the great martyrs in the Greek Church, as her sufferings are considered to have been worse than loss of life. Emblems: Anvil. Anvil at his feet. Anvil in his hand. In armour. Lion. Sword. Axe.

MLA Citation

  • E A Greene. “Saint Adrian”. Saints and Their Symbols, 1909. CatholicSaints.Info. 12 April 2017. Web. 7 March 2021. <>