St. Adrian and St. Natalia: Love Is Stronger than Death

Hadrian and Natalia were young Roman newlyweds of good family. They had been married thirteen months, and were very happy. They had one sorrow: no children.

They also had one secret: Natalia had converted to Christianity. Hadrian did not convert, but also did not forbid her or report her.

But the time came when persecution started again, and Hadrian was serving in Nicomedia’s praetorium. One day, a group of Christians was brought in for trial, and he saw them acting bravely and rejoicing. Finally, he was so struck with admiration and conviction of the truth of their religion (and Natalia’s) that he told the court reporters to put his name down as a Christian, too.

When his wife Natalia heard this, she was filled with joy as well as sorrow, and supported him in his martyrdom. She came to watch him die, and managed to bring away his hand, which was cut off before he was killed. The local Christian community managed to get hold of all the bodies and buried them secretly near Argyropolis. Natalia moved there and died soon after; she was buried with her husband.

Here is a Spanish reliquary that once housed relics of Ss. Adrian and Natalia.

The Breviarium Gothicum includes some remarkable praises for St. Natalia in the Hours for June 17, the old Spanish feast day for Ss. Adrian and Natalia:

Vespers includes:

Antiphon:
The just [man] will be given his good desire,
And the gracious woman will find glory.

Lauda:
The desire of each of the just ones is good, Alleluia.
And the woman “keeping the paths of justice, and guarding the ways of saints.”
(Prov. 2:8)

Matins includes:

Antiphon:
“The root of the just shall prosper,” (Prov. 12:12)
And “a diligent woman is the crown of her husband.” (Prov. 12:4)

Oratio responses:

“All the just shall spring up like a green leaf,” (Prov. 11:28)
“And her husband’s years, the valiant woman” (Sir. 26:2)

R: Fulfilled “in peace.” (Sir. 26:2)

“The valiant woman delights her husband, and his years” (Sir. 26:2)

R: Fulfilled “in peace.”

At Lauds:

Canticle:
“The gift of God abides with the just,
And his advancement shall have success forever.” (Sir. 11:17)

“Blessed the husband of a good wife,
For the number of his years is double.” (Sir. 26:1)

“A good wife is a good portion;
she shall be given to a man for his good deeds,
in the portion of those who fear God.” (Sir. 26:3)

“The grace of a” chaste “woman delights her husband,
and puts fat on his bones.” (Sir. 26:16)

“Golden columns on silver bases,
And the feet firm on the soles of a steady woman.” (Sir. 16:23)

“Everlasting foundations on solid rock,
And the commandments of God in a holy woman’s heart.” (Sir. 16:24)

Antiphon:
The exultation “of the just is much glory,” (Prov. 28:12)
“And the grace of a careful woman shall delight her husband.” (Sir. 26:16)

Truly the just will possess the land as an inheritance, (Lev. 20:24)
And they shall dwell upon it forever and ever.

And the grace.

Lauda:

“The fear of the Lord is the glory” of the just. (Sir. 1:11)

R: “And grace upon grace, a holy and blushing woman.” Alleluia. (Sir. 26:19)

“Blessed the immaculate on the way
Who walk in the law of the Lord.” (Ps. 118:1)

R: And grace.

Lauda:

“The light of the just gives joy,” “and the wise…” (Prov. 13:9, Prov. 14:1)

R:”…Woman builds her house.” Alleluia. (Prov. 14:1)

V: “His/her seed shall be mighty upon earth,
the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.” (Ps. 111:2)

R: “The woman builds her house.”

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