On the day of the pagan feast of December 20th in 107 AD, St Ignatius was taken into the arena of the circus and he appealed to the people: "Men of Rome, you know I was sentenced to death not for any crime but for the sake of my God -- the One I desire to embrace and to whom we all seek. I am His wheat, to be ground by his teeth; and so I will be to the animals, as to Him, pure bread." Immediately thereafter, the lions were released.
There is a legend that after St Paul's return to Rome he preached at the court of the emperor Nero. By this his favorite concubine found faith in Jesus. For this he was tried. But though the grace of God was spared, in his own words, from the mouth of the lion (that is, from the wild beasts in the circus). But he was cast into prison. And after nine months of imprisonment he was beheaded by the sword as a Roman citizen.
St. Agnes Early Christian Mosaics from the Fourth to the Seventh Centuries: Rome, Naples, Milan, Ravenna. Fourteen Plates in Color. Translated from the German, 1946. Jewelled belt, wrapped over dress, decorated underdress and fabric belt. Wonderfully complex hair style. I love it.
Saint Mina turned down an offer to sacrifice to pagan gods, and received a most cruel torment, after which he was beheaded in 304. The body of the holy martyr was ordered to be burned. Christians gathered at night, from the fire, the surviving remnants of the martyr and put his name on the temple which had been built to honor the end of persecution in the Great Mines of suffering and death.
The trade in gladiators was Empire-wide, and subjected to official supervision. Rome's military success produced a supply of soldier-prisoners who were redistributed for use in State mines or amphitheatres and for sale on the open market. For example, in the aftermath of the Jewish Revolt, the gladiator schools received an influx of Jews – those rejected for training would have been sent straight to the arenas as noxii (lit. "hurtful ones"). The best – the most robust – were sent to Rome.
Telemachus was a Christian martyr who according to Church historian Theodoret tried to stop a gladiatorial fight in the Roman Coliseum and was stoned to death by the crowd. The Christian Emperor Honorius, however, was impressed by his martyrdom and it spurred him to issue a historic ban on gladiatorial fights. The last known gladiatorial fight in Rome was on 1 January 404 AD, so this is usually given as the date of Telemachus' martyrdom.
Agrikolay greeted Blasius, calling upon strange gods. The Saint called the pagan gods demons, was subjected to severe beating, and was taken to prison. Seven Christian women took the idols and drowned them in the deepest place. They stoically endured torture. Their bodies transformed becoming white as snow. Milk flowed from their wounds. One had two young sons who asked their mother how they could get to heaven. She told them to take care of the Bishop. The seven holy wives were beheaded.
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 1537, detail of f. 65r [illustration for ‘Fille de roy es lyons approuvée’]. Chants royaux sur la Conception, couronnés au puy de Rouen de 1519 à 1528. 16th century
Being present at the death of the Holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica, St Lupus dipped his clothes in his blood and took the ring from his hand. With his clothing, ring, and the name Demetrius, Luppus worked many miracles. He smashed the pagan idols for which he was persecuted by the heathen but the power of God was preserved intact. Holy Luppus voluntarily surrendered himself into the hands of torturers, and by order of Emperor Maximian Galerius was beheaded by the sword († after…
St. Mark, in anticipation of his end, hastened to leave behind a successor - Bishop Ananias and three elders. Soon after, pagans attacked the Apostle during a service, beat him, dragged him through the streets, and threw him into prison. At night, the Savior appeared to him and inspired him. The next morning a crowd of pagans again accosted him with the intent of taking him to be judged. But on the way, The Evangelist died with the words: "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."
The spiritual power emanating from the Apostle Peter was so strong that even his shadow moved to those lying on the street sick and healed them. This message was written shortly before the martyrdom of the Apostle Peter: "I know that soon I must leave off this my tabernacle (body), as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me." At the end of his life, the Apostle Peter went back to Rome where he was martyred in '67 by crucifixion upside down.
The Martyr Simeon: After the murder of the Apostle James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, the Christians chose in his place the Apostle Simon. During the reign of Emperor Trajan (98 - 117) the Roman governor told Atticus that Saint Simeon came from the line of King David (the Romans destroyed all descendants of King David), and professed the Christian faith. The pagans arrested St. Simeon, who at that time was already a hundred year old man, and after much suffering he was crucified on the…