Catholic Answers, Kenneth D. Whitehead: Some time around the year A.D. 107, a short, sharp persecution of the Church of Christ resulted in the arrest of the bishop of Antioch in Syria. His name was Ignatius. According to one of the harsh penal practices of the Roman Empire of the day, the good bishop was condemned to be delivered up to wild beasts in the arena in the capital city. The insatiable public appetite for bloody spectacle meant a chronically short supply of victims; prisoners were thus sent off to Rome to help fill the need. Article is here.