Christian Leaders Remember 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians Martyred by ISIS in Libya in 2015

Matthew Ayariga (middle) was killed along with 20 other Coptic Christians after they refused to renounce their faith and convert to Islam. (Photo: TKList)

Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos and Archbishop of Canterbury were among the Church leaders and politicians remembering the 21 Christians martyred in Libya six years on from their death.

The men, Coptic Orthodox Christians, were murdered by ISIS on a beach in Libya on 15 February 2015. They were all from Egypt, with the exception of Matthew Ayariga from Ghana, and were in Libya as construction workers when they were kidnapped from Sirte.

Footage of their executions was released on video, shocking the world but also moving many with their bravery.

They are remembered on Contemporary Martyrs Day, held each year in their memory by the Coptic Orthodox Church on 15 February.

Commemorations were held online this year because of Covid-19.

Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Archbishop Angaelos, said: “What we are talking about here is not an attack on the Coptic Orthodox Church, or Coptic Orthodox Christians, because there is no monopoly of suffering or persecution.

“For to persecute is to dehumanise, to commodify, to take away the image and likeness of God that is within and that is at the core of our humanity.

“Through the witness of the 21 we have learned resilience, we have learned generosity, we have learned graciousness, we have learned to love quite literally those who seek to kill us, and we have learned to forgive, and so we are thankful for their witness.

“As Christians this is our calling, who we are, we would not be true to ourselves if we do not advocate and stand together for people of all faiths and none, because we all share that humanity … when we stand against oppression and against persecution, we gain, because our humanity is enriched.”

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SOURCE: Christian Today