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[COMMENT: The following is copied from a newsletter from Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com ), founded by Richard Wurmbrand, who spent many years in a Hungarian prison for his faith in Jesus Christ.
If my memory is correct, Telemachus felt a call from God to go to Rome for an unknown purpose.
The story is a perfect testimony to the signal differences between the pagan and Biblical views of human life and value. The pagan (and secular, for the most part) view of things is that the strong should rule the weak. That is because there was no concept of an objective moral order in the pagan worldview. That meant that there was only the power of the strong man. The strong man would be valued because he could impose at least some order on an otherwise chaotic nature and society. The Pax Romana was a good example of that. It was at sword point, but it kept the peace around the Mediterranean Sea for about 200 years.
The ascendency of the Biblical worldview through Christianity changed all that, leading to the betterment of society in a number of ways -- almost all of them resting on the Biblical notion that every human being is made in the Image of God, and therefore of worth before God, before man, and before any government of man.
Note that the Emperor was already a Christian -- but did not have the moral compassion which Telemachus had. Even among Christians, slavery was a long, long time in being even fought against, let alone being eradicated. The sins of the fallen human race are extinguished only slowly, and at continued great cost to the Body of Christ.
Glory be to God for opportunities to serve Him in such a
The brave actions of one man ended the gruesome Coliseum games in ancient Rome for good. For his peaceful protest against barbarianism, Telemachus paid with his life. During the reign of the Roman Empire, Romans attended gladiatorial games at the Coliseum for entertainment. There gladiators would fight criminals, prisoners, and vicious animals until death.
A hermit monk named Telemachus traveled to Rome just in time to attend games celebrating a Roman army victory. Telemachus watched in horror as gladiators struck down fighter after fighter. He could stand it no longer. He leapt into the arena.
"Do not requite God's mercy," Telemachus screamed, "in turning away the swords of your enemies by murdering each other!" Neither the crowd nor the combatants paid any attention. Desperate, he ran from gladiator to gladiator, imploring them to stop. The crowd mocked him, shouting "Sedition! Sedition! Down with him! This is no place for preaching! The old customs of Rome must be observed! On gladiators!"
Some accounts say Telemachus was struck down by those fighting in the arena. Others say the indignant spectators stoned the peacemaker to death. In either case, his actions and his death had a far-reaching impact on Rome. Telemachus made others aware that the gory killing contests had no place among true Christians. Upon hearing that the peaceful man had been slain, the Christian Emperor Honorarius issues an edict banning gladiatorial combats. Telemachus saved countless others with his passionate, selfless act.
Monk Preston. "The Monk Who Ended the Coliseum Games." www.prayerfoundation.org. Accessed May 5, 2009
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