That’s Gonna Leave a Mark: An Anvil Beating for the Lord

An Early Christian era Harlequin Romance

Are you the Judean People’s Front or the People’s Front of Judea? “The coliseum in Rome” by Jace Grandinetti on Unsplash

Sometimes it’s fun to explore how much things sucked back in the day too.

This uplifting story of true love goes back to the 4th century when a 28-year-old Herculian guard called Adrian of Nicomedia was serving the Roman emperor Galerius Maximian. Not a bad gig - as long as you stayed on the Big Guy’s good side.

While presiding over the torture of a bunch of Christians at work one day, Adrian asked them exactly what the afterlife offered that could make all of this misery and pain worth it.

They told him, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (In other words, they haven’t the slightest clue.)

Well, this struck a nerve with Adrian for some unfathomable reason, and he was so impressed by his prisoners’ bravery that he immediately proclaimed himself a Christian and quit his day job.

When Emperor Maximian summoned him and asked if he’d gone nuts, Adrian assured him, “I have not lost my mind, but rather have I found it.” His boss said OK, it’s your funeral (literally), and had him tossed in the pokey.

When Adrian’s wife, Natalia, heard the news that her husband was incarcerated awaiting certain execution, she was super-psyched. Natalia was herself a closet Christian, and the knowledge that her hubby was going to suffer and die for Christ gave her a major case of the prouds.

She hied herself to the prison and told Adrian that “you are blessed, my lord, because you have believed in Christ. You have obtained a great treasure. Do not regret anything earthly, neither beauty, nor youth, nor riches. Everything worldly is dust and ashes. Only faith and good deeds are pleasing to God.”

All well and good Nat, but you’re on the other side of the bars, aren’t you?

Adrian was put through unimaginable agonies before he was executed the next day. An anvil was brought to the jail to smash his limbs until they fell in bloody chunks from his body.

Photo by

To help him face his ordeal, Natalia asked the executioner if she could place her husband’s limbs on the anvil herself. (You have to seriously wonder about this woman.)

Finally, mercifully, Adrian was beheaded, and his body was taken with the remains of several other martyrs to be burned. But a thunderstorm erupted, dousing the flame and even supposedly electrocuting several of the executioners. MSM, of course, neglected to report it.

Anyway, Natalia took advantage of the chaos and snatched the hand of her dead husband before it was tossed on the pyre. Nat was sentimental that way.

Years later, worn out from all her “suffering,” Natalia, who was also canonized by the Catholic Church(clearly “saint by injection” was enough to qualify back in the day), died peacefully in her sleep. Isn’t it always the way?

“No fair! Jesus got a bigger cross than me!” A sculpture of a warrior carrying a cross sitting on the corner of a mantelpiece while looking up” by Alessandro Valenzano on Unsplash

Written by

is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store