Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He is also a participant of our Digital Disciples Program.
In our world today, think of all the bizarre customs that are so very contrary to the morals of Christianity. We must constantly struggle against the vain and lustful presentations of the media. It has become common practice to endorse and idolize fame and even certain violent sports. In the many centuries long past, Christians have struggled with similar cultural issues. For example, the gladiator arena was once host to some of the most horrific and violent spectator sports, yet society loved it.
At some point, it takes someone, sometimes even just one person, to make a change. In the 5th century there was a saint who did just that. St. Telemachus is a lesser known saint in our church, but his deed is no less noble. On January 1st 404 he displayed an act of bravery that would ultimately put an end to the gladiator arena. St. Telemachus, a monk from Asia, was so moved in his heart to act out against the atrocious public displays of violence, that he marched out onto the field of the gladiator arena in Rome’s Coliseum. The blood thirsty crowds were howling and sneering. St. Telemachus piously stated his opposition to such horrific acts, which were merely for the sake of public amusement, and many gladiators in the arena were slaves forced to fight against their will.
As Saint Telemachus voiced his Christ-like opinion the crowd began to howl and jeer even louder and to their enjoyment one of the largest gladiators struck St. Telemachus in the head and knocked him to the ground. Yet St. Telemachus did not stop as he knew the truth in his heart. St. Telemachus rose again and continued to piously present his case. This time the gladiator did not even hesitate; he drew his sword and killed St. Telemachus.
However, the response of the crowd was not what was to be expected, in fact it was somewhat miraculous. The entire arena became eerily quiet after the gladiator’s final blow. The crowd felt horrible and was shocked that such a pious man was murdered before their eyes. The crowds began to slowly but surely file out of the arena. After the events surrounding St. Telemachus’ noble stand against the brutality of the gladiator arena, a sensation against the sport was created throughout Rome and the Emperor outlawed gladiator sports with three days of the St. Telemachus’ death. This courageous stand by St. Telemachus created a turning point in certain cultural values that helped more of society embrace Christianity.
Saints of our church always provide us with profound examples of how to resist the societal pressures that often push us to act against our faith. In a time where the gladiator arena was very accepted, St. Telemachus was strong enough to make his stand and make a permanent change for the betterment of Christian society. If we think of all the ill things that our society condones, there are many things we can piously resist. Let us look around and with Christ as our guide, provide some semblance of resistance against the evil forces that attempt to move us to participate in sin. Acts of a peacemaker do not have to be on the large scale of the Saints. If we can help eliminate agitation in our world or radiate our own inner peace, even the small instances of peace we create are very large when combined with the other small instances of peace created by our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
For the entire article about St. Telemachus click at Pemptousia.com.
The Orthodox Christian Network offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance OrthodoxChristian life. Through our strategic partnership with Pemptousia, we are able to share similar content from Mount Athos, Greece. Pemptousia is published by the “SAINT MAXIM THE GREEK” Institute for the Research, Preservation, and Promotion of Spiritual and Cultural Traditions and is available online, in several languages. The article above is an example of the wealth of Pemptousia’s Orthodox content.
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. We also report on news events in the Orthodox Church and produce This Week in Orthodoxy, a weekly news video with stories and issues of interest to Orthodox Christians around the world.
Digital Disciple Scholars Program. The Orthodox Christian Network has established the Digital Disciple Scholars Program on the campus of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. The purpose is to train our ministry leaders to use multi-media resources to spread the Gospel. Students promote current issues related to the Orthodox Faith, Christian Persecution, and cover Orthodox News and events on campus.
Help us SHARE THE LIGHT of Christ throughout the world! On January 17th, OCN is hoping parishes and individuals will take a moment to support our international ministry. Click here for more information on how you can help us Share the Light on Sunday, January 17th. The Orthodox Christian Network is a commissioned agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Our mission is to comfort, inspire, and inform Orthodox Christians and seekers around the world using digital media. OCN is not underwritten financially by any one organization, jurisdiction, or individual. Rather, OCN is supported entirely by parish and personal donations. Please remember OCN in your parish’s charitable giving. The Orthodox Christian Network is a 501(c)(3) corporation.
$20,000 MATCHING CHALLENGE FOR OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners. Anonymous donors have issued a $20,000 matching challenge in honor of OCN’s 20th Anniversary! For every $1 you give, $2 will be donated! You can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website.
Be on the lookout for our new mobile app, “Spark”, to be launched in the near future. The app will raise awareness of Christian persecution worldwide and provide you and millions of Orthodox with different ways to act.