The year and date of Saint Adrian’s birth as well as the events of his early life are completely unknown. His name is sometimes spelled “Hadrian”
Adrian was a Herculian Guard and he served Emperor Galerius Maximanus (c. 260-311). During Galerius’ persecution of the Christians, Adrian was order to oversee the torture of a group of prisoners. When he asked them what they expected to receive from their God in return for all their suffering, they quoted 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Adrian was so impressed by their faith that he immediately confessed belief in Jesus Christ. He, in turn, was placed in prison and his wife, Natalia, had to disguise herself as a boy and bribe a guard in order to say goodbye.
On March 4, 306, Adrian was executed by having his legs pounded off on an anvil and then his head cut off. The executioners were then instructed to burn the bodies. Natalia tried to commit suicide by jumping into the fire with her dead husband. However, a thunderstorm miraculously developed. The lightning killed the executioners and the rain put the fire out, thus preventing the desecration of the bodies. Other Christians later gave Adrian a proper burial in the town of Argyropolis. Natalia retrieved one of his hands and kept it as a relic. She remained in Argyropolis until her death in 311. She is venerated as Saint Natalia of Nicomedia.
The death of Saint Adrian is an example of baptism of blood. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, if a person believes in Jesus Christ to the extent that he or she is willing to by martyred, it is immaterial whether or not that person has been baptized. Of course, if opportunity for sacramental baptism is available it should be performed. However, those who undergo the baptism of blood receive all the graces given to those who are baptized with water.
Saint Adrian is venerated by several churches and, therefore, his memorial is celebrated on several different days. In the Roman Catholic Church, however, his feast day is September 8. He is the patron saint of old soldiers and of those suffering from epilepsy.
Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints
The Catechism of the Catholic Church