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E02828: Hymn in honour of *Adrianos and Natalia, (martyr of Nicomedia and his pious wife, S01342) composed in Latin in Spain, probably in the 7th c., recounts the story of Adrianos' martyrdom, and the encouragement given him by Natalia.

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posted on 2017-05-19, 00:00 authored by mszada
Hymnodia Hispanica, Hymn 86


'On the day of saints Adrianus and Natalia'

The hymn opens with an apostrophe to the glorious Jerusalem which welcomes those who suffered martyrdom.

(3) Adrianus cum beata coniuge Natalia,
ferculum duplex amoris, unio carismatis,
munus ingens, pignus almum, celibe conubium,

(4) Нос die tibi dicantes uota conscientie
cursibus ad te recurrunt, hinc ouantes inuicem
dant Deo dona uicissim coniugalis gratie.

(5) Enitet ille supremo passionis stigmate,
hec pie conpassionis destinato munere,
cursus est diuersus illis, sors est una gloria.

(6) Hic uiris pro spe superna conligatis miscitur,
adnotari cum beatis se perobtat ilico,
hincque bacis inligatur, hincque rursus truditur.

(7) Vxor hunc uisura surgens percitis cum gressibus
carceres adit remotos, castra cernit martirum,
osculat uincla beata, fert uiro constantiam.

(8) Suadit utpote palestre uim sacri certaminis,
suadit hinc promissa celi, suadit et plus perpeti,
uoce uoto impetrato, muneris instantia.

(9) Liber huius euocatu uinculis carnalibus
ceditur, exinteratur, nexibus distenditur,
et pedum conpage truncus corpore dissolbitur.

(10) Cara huius in supremis mota coniux osculis:
surge, dicit, pone dextram, quam recisam coniugi
des mici pignus amoris, des stipem dulcedinis.

(11) His manum libens tetendit, quam recisit carnifex,
nec mora, mox inter ipsa enecatus uulnera
coniugem dote secunda sanguinis hereditat.

'(3) Adrianus with his blessed spouse Natalia, a double dish of love, the union of a divine gift, a great offering, a nourishing pledge, a chaste marriage,

(4) On this day they dedicated to you [glorious Jerusalem] the vows of their conscience and return to you. Here they rejoice together and offer to God the mutual gifts of conjugal grace.

(5) He shines with the greatest mark of martyrdom, she with the destined gift of pious compassion. Their paths are different, but the same glory is their destination.

(6) He, for hope supreme, is joined with men in chains; he at once wishes his name to be recorded together with those of the blessed. Hence he is put in chains and hence he is again driven on.

(7) The wife, rising to see him, goes quickly to the remote prison; she sees the fortress of the martyrs; she kisses the blessed fetters, brings constancy to her husband.

(8) As if in the wrestling ring, she exhorts strength for the holy fight, thence she exhorts the promised reward of heaven; she exhorts him to suffer more, urging the importance of the reward for a pledge fulfilled.

(9) At her calling, he submits himself willingly to bodily chains, he is tortured, his joints are dislocated, and, mutilated, he is loosed from the binding of his feet to his body.

(10) His dear wife is moved to her last kisses. She says: give your right hand to be cut off. Give it to me, your wife, as a pledge of love and as a sweet offering.

(11) He willingly extended his hand and the executioner cut it off. Without delay he died of these wounds and made his wife the heir of a second offering, his blood.'

After the death of her husband, Natalia continues to serve the martyrs. She tends their wounds, consoles them and encourages them to martyrdom (strophes 12-14).

(15) Que tamen, uiri corona post triumfum reddita,
dum suum corpus piorum inlinit cruoribus,
nil minus perfert ab illis, in quibus hec uicerit.

(16) O sacrum, uere honestum uinculum conubii!
o nouos cursus laborum iunctionis unice!
ambo currunt, ambo uincunt, est utrisque gloria.

(17) Hec tua, custos superne, munerum diuersitas
pertraat segnes ad illam laureandos patriam,
qua tibi laudes beati post agones insonant.

(18) Clarus ille hic coruscans Micael arcangelus,
utpote Deus? Patrandis eminens uirtutibus,
det locum nouum uigoris, det faborem muneris.

(19) Huius ergo inpetratu uel tuorum martirum
ferto nobis hanc medellam, qua reatum diluas,
criminum nodos resolbe, da fomentum gratie.

(20) Quo, tremenda iudicantis quum dies inluxerit,
festa quorum predicamus, misceamur gaudiis,
et quibus non est corona, sit fides ad gloriam.

'(15) She, however, once her husband's crown [of martyrdom] was received after his triumph, while she covers her body with the blood of the pious, endures nothing less from them in whom she conquered.

(16) O holy and truly noble bond of marriage! O new ways of working of this unique union! They run together, they win together, and they both have the same glory.

(17) O Supreme Guardian, let the diversity of your gifts draw the sluggish to this homeland in which the blessed after their contests sing praise to You.

(18) Is that the shining Archangel Michael, who is like God? Let him who is distinguished in performing miracles give us a new strength and the favour of reward.

(19) At the entreaty of Michael and Your martyrs, give us this medicine by which you cleanse guilt, dissolve the knots of sin, and give us a poultice of grace,

(20) So that when the terrible day of judgement dawns, we may join in joy the feast of those of whom we preach today, and those who do not have a crown may have faith in glory.'

There follows the final strophe in honour of the Holy Trinity (21).

Text: J. Castro Sánchez 2010, 320-325. Translation and summary: M. Szada.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Adrianos and Natalia, martyrs in Nicomedia, ob. the early 4th c. : S01342 Michael, the Archangel : S00181

Saint Name in Source

Adrianus, Natalia Micael

Type of Evidence

Literary - Poems Liturgical texts - Hymns


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Iberian Peninsula

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Osset Osset Osen (castrum) Osser castrum

Cult activities - Liturgical Activity

  • Service for the Saint

Cult activities - Festivals

  • Saint’s feast

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs

Composing and translating saint-related texts


The hymn to Adrianus and Natalia, martyred during the Diocletianic persecution in Nicomedia, is written in a metre known as trochaic septenarius. Pérez de Urbel 1926, 5-13, 211, dated it to the 7th c. mainly on stylistic grounds, and suggested possible connections with the monastery of the Archangel Michael in Escalada (vv. 52-54) which may have already existed at that time (Bango Troviso). Pérez de Urbel 1926, 211, tentatively proposed the authorship of Eugenius II, bishop of Toledo, based on some similarities between his poetry and the hymn; but this attribution is very uncertain. Three manuscripts preserve the whole text of the hymn: Alia Officia Toletana, London, British Library, Add. 30845 from the 10th and 11th c.; Psalmi Cantica et Hymni, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms. 10001 from the 9th/11th c.; and Officia et Missae, Toledo, Archivo Catedral, ms. 35.6 from the 9th/11th c. The manuscript Psalmi Cantica Hymni cum paucis officiis, siue Psalterium Toletanum, London, British Library, Add. 30851, 11th c., has the text with a lacuna (vv. 1-16). A modern manuscript - Misceláneo, Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, ms. 13054, 18th c. has the text with a lacuna in vv. 31-63. Pérez de Urbel's method of dating hymns: Josef Pérez de Urbel's method is based on two preliminary assumptions: a) that the bulk of the Hispanic liturgy was composed in the 7th century, the 'golden age' of the Hispanic Church, and that important intellectual figures of this period (Braulio of Saragossa, Isidore of Seville, Eugenius of Toledo, et al.) participated in its creation; b) that the liturgy was, nevertheless, still developing and changing in the period after the Arab invasion, and therefore, many texts which we find in 9th, 10th, and 11th century liturgical manuscripts might be of more recent date. Some hymns can be dated to the period after 711, for instance if they mention 'hagaric oppression' or if they are in honour of saints whose cult was imported later to Spain (they do not feature in earlier literary and epigraphic evidence, nor are attested in the oldest liturgical book from Hispania, the Orationale Visigothicum). It is more difficult to identify the hymns which are certainly from before 711. To this group Pérez de Urbell usually attributed hymns with a probable attribution to an author from the 7th century (like Braulio of Saragossa or Quiricius of Barcelona), and those which were stylistically close to the poetry of Eugenius of Toledo from the 7th century. Pérez de Urbell then compared two groups of the hymns and noticed the following: a) late hymns contain 'barbarisms' and solecisms, while early ones are written in correct classical Latin; b) late hymns are composed in rhythmic metres, early ones are frequently in the correct classical metres; that, up until the end of the 7th century, people still could compose in e.g. hexameters is confirmed by epigraphical evidence; these metric inscriptions disappear from the 8th century onwards; the 8th and 9th century authors who make attempts at writing in classical (quantitative) metres, always make mistakes; c) some rhythmical poetry could nevertheless be early; d) although both early and late hymns sometimes have rhymes, perfect rhymes occur only in late hymns. In the absence of any certain indications for dating, Pérez de Urbell assumed that a hymn is early if at least two requirements were met: the Latin is 'correct' and there are no perfect rhymes. He also considered early every hymn composed in a quantitative metre.


It is uncertain when the cult of these two eastern martyrs arrived in the Iberian Peninsula. A Latin version of their Martyrdom (BHL 3744; E###), translated from the Greek original (E06600), is included in the Mozarabic passionaries known from manuscripts of the 10th and 11th c. (London, British Library, ms. 25600; Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. 2179). But it was almost certainly available much earlier, since the author of our hymn closely follows the story of Adrianus' martyrdom (during which his feet and hands were cut off), and Natalia's support for her husband, culminating in her taking his severed right hand as a sacred pledge (Fábrega Grau 1955, 210). See Castro Sánchez 2010, 820.


Editions: Blume, C., Hymnodia Gothica. Die Mozarabischen Hymnen des alt-spanischen Ritus (Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevii 27; Leipzig, 1897) Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispanica (Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 167; Turnhout, 2010). Castro Sánchez, J., Hymnodia hispánica (Corpus Christianorum in Translation 19; Turnhout, 2014). Spanish translation. Further reading: Bango Torviso, I.G., "San Miguel de Escalada," Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed May 19, 2017, Fábrega Grau, Á., Pasionario hispánico (Madrid and Barcelona, 1953). Janini,, J., Liber missarum de Toledo y libros misticos, vol. 2 (Toledo, 1983). Pérez de Urbel, J., "Origen de los himnos mozárabes," Bulletin Hispanique 28 (1926), 5-21, 113-139, 209-245, 305-320.

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