Christian Heroes

Telemachus the monk

Christianity dealt the decisive blow to the Roman Empire's gladiator games. After Emperor Constantine made Christianity the Roman Empire's official religion in 337 AD, Christian gladiator critics became more outspoken. In the early 400s A.D., a Christian named Tetramachus tried to stop a gladiator fight. The true story of Telemachus the monk comes from the writings of Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria (393-457 A.D.). Theodoret's Ecclesiastical History covers the period of time up until 429 A.D. (the early fifth century). We quote from: Book V, Chapter XXVI: Of Honorius the Emperor and Telemachus the monk. 

"Honorius, who inherited the empire of Europe, put a stop to the gladitorial combats which had long been held at Rome.  The occasion of his doing so arose from the following circumstance.  A certain man of the name of Telemachus had embraced the ascetic life.  He had set out from the East and for this reason had repaired to Rome.  There, when the abominable spectacle was being exhibited, he went himself into the stadium, and stepping down into the arena, endeavoured to stop the men who were wielding their weapons against one another.  The spectators of the slaughter were indignant, and inspired by the triad fury of the demon who delights in those bloody deeds, stoned the peacemaker to death.

When the admirable emperor was informed of this he numbered Telemachus in the number of victorius martyrs, and put an end to that impious spectacle."