The first recorded gladiatorial combat in Rome occurred when three pairs of gladiators fought to the death during the funeral of Junius Brutus in 264 BCE, though others may have been held earlier. During the height of the Roman empire thousands of men and women were killed in the Coliseum in Rome. Many Christians refused to attend these violent games but for many it was ‘just entertainment’. Few people know that it was a Christian monk who brought the games to an end in the early fifth century. Unfortunately Telemachus was stoned to death for his faith!
In the world you will have trouble, but fear not I have overcome the world.John 16:33
In the fifth century a monk named Telemachus from Asia (modern day Turkey) was led by an inner voice to go to Rome without knowing why. He followed the crowds to the Coliseum. Two gladiators were fighting, and Telemachus tried to get between them to stop them, shouting three times, “In the name of Christ, forbear!” Telemachus was then stoned to death by the furious crowd enraged that someone would dare to interfere with their ‘entertainment’. Because of Telemachus’ death, three days later, the Emperor by decree ended the Games.