Saints in Art – Saint Adrian

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

(Patron Saint of Soldiers) (8th September)

A Roman of noble birth, who served in the guards of the Emperor Galerius. His wife Natalia was a Christian. When the tenth persecution broke out in Bithynia (a.d. 290) it fell to the lot of Adrian to superintend the execution of the Christians; and, overcome by their constancy in suffering, much to the joy of his wife, he was converted to her faith. Having been cast into prison, scourged, and tortured, he was finally sentenced to have his limbs cut off on a blacksmith’s anvil. Thus he died, and his body was carried by the Christians to Byzantium. Natalia, who comforted and encouraged her husband to the last, passed the remainder of her life in widowhood near his tomb, but has always been given the honours of martyrdom, because of her sufferings and constancy.

He is represented in armour, sometimes with a lion or sword; his distinguishing attribute is an anvil.

MLA Citation

  • Margaret E Tabor. “Saint Adrian”. The Saints in Art, with Their Attributes and Symbols. CatholicSaints.Info. 6 August 2018. Web. 2 March 2021. <>