4 March 306 – Saint Adrian of Nicodemia

Saint Adrian of Nicodemia‘I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it’ announced Adrian of Nicodemia, and with that he instantly found God.

A Roman guard with the Praetorian army, he’d been tasked with rounding up and torturing Christians. Thing is, he’d been so impressed with the poise and calm dignity with which a group of Christians had borne their torture that he was compelled to ask what could possible give them the strength to bear the whips and rods.

The last temptation

The lure of ‘the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ – that was what gave them the power to transcend their pain. Adrian liked the sound of that, so he gave up his job as a Praetorian guard to be incarcerated along with his fellow worshippers.

Emperor Maximian, incensed by his defection, ordered him to be tortured and executed.

Limb from limb

An anvil was brought to the prison and his limbs were literally broken up with a hammer until they came off. He was then beheaded and his body burned. But a storm brewed and put the fire out, while lightening is said to have electrocuted some of the executioners. This allowed his wife Natalie to salvage his hand from the embers, which is now housed at the Argyropolis near Constantinople.

Adrian of Nicomedia is fittingly the patron saint of prison guards (among others including arms dealers, butchers and soldiers). He shares a feast day with his wife on 8 September.

Please note: the year of his death varies too depending on sources – some cite the year as 303 or 304.

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