January 1 : Almachius or Telemachus, martyr (c. 400)

Almachius or Telemachus, martyr (c. 400) 

Died c. 400. Almachius was a hermit monk who came to Rome from the East. The Ecclesiastical History of Theodoret tells of an ascetic named Telemachus who sought to put an end to gladiatorial contests in the amphitheater, which he felt were cruel and unchristian. One day he ran into the arena to separate the combatants, and was killed by being cut into pieces, either by the infuriated spectators or by the gladiators at the order of the city prefect Alipius. It is said that in consequence the Emperor Honorius abolished such shows and declared Telemachus a martyr.

The Roman Martyrology tells how a certain Almachius was slain by gladiators when he protested their superstitions and worship of idols. Some claim that the idol-worship condemned by Almachius was the Roman games which Telemachus tried to stop and that the two are identical; others contest the historical reality of either saint (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Gill).