By Lawrence W. Reed, author of Real Heroes: Incredible True Stories of Courage, Character, and Conviction.
… Fought in stadiums before tens of thousands of boisterous onlookers, ancient Roman gladiator duels are well known today—more than 1,600 years since the last one was fought. Too few people, however, know of the one man who deserves the most credit for bringing those bloody spectacles to an end. A lowly monk from either Turkey or Egypt, his name was Telemachus.
By the old Julian calendar of Telemachus’s day, he performed his famous duel-ending deed on January 1, 404 A.D. You can wait a couple of weeks and celebrate it on January 14 if you choose, because that’s the corresponding date in the Gregorian calendar the world uses today.
…By January 404, the remaining days of the western Roman Empire were numbered… The place had largely become a moral cesspool run by brutal and often megalomaniacal tyrants
…In this environment, Telemachus made his appearance. Rome was his destination after a long sojourn from Asia Minor. A stadium packed with raucous, sadistic pagans may not sound like a place that would attract a pious pilgrim, but Telemachus was on a mission. What happened on that fateful January day in 404 was recorded as follows by Bishop Theodoret of Cyrus in Book V of his Ecclesiastical History:
There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavored to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another. The spectators of the slaughter were indignant and inspired by the fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.
When the admirable Emperor (Honorius) was informed of this he numbered Telemachus among the victorious martyrs and put an end to that impious spectacle.
Another account claims that as he raised his arms between dueling gladiators, Telemachus repeatedly cried out, “In the name of Christ, stop!” Yet another, though likely spurious one, reports that the spectators fell silent at the monk’s murder and then, one by one, quietly filed out of the stadium. There’s no real dispute over this central fact, however: Moved by those last, courageous moments of Telemachus’s life, Emperor Honorius immediately stopped the killing games of ancient Rome—forever.
One Person Can Make a Difference
One man made a difference. He was a man of little note before January 1, 404. We know almost nothing else about him but what I’ve told you here. It’s likely that few, if any, in the stadium that day noticed him when he entered, but they all knew afterward what he came for and what he did.
Read more at … https://fee.org/articles/how-a-lowly-monk-ended-romes-bloody-gladiator-duels/