The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church has announced that the murder of the 21 Egyptian Christians killed by the so-called Islamic State in Libya will be commemorated in its calendar of liturgical commemorations. Pope Tawadros II announced that the martyrs will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxarium, which is equivalent to the Martyrology of the Catholic Church. This is equivalent to canonization in the Latin rite of the Catholic Church.
 
The martyrdom of the 21 Christians will be commemorated on the 8th Amshir of the Coptic calendar, or February 15th of the Gregorian calendar. The commemoration falls on the feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. Islamic State terrorists released a video two weeks ago entitled "A Message Signed in Blood to the Nation of the Cross” in which they released a warning saying they were “south of Rome.” They then proceeded to behead the Christian men, some of whom were seen whispering the “Lord Jesus Christ” in the moments before their death.
 
The faith of many Christians has been strengthened by the example of the Egyptian martyrs. In a television interview, Beshir Kamel, brother of two of the Coptic martyrs, thanked the Islamic State for including the martyrs' declaration of faith in the videos before killing them. “ISIS gave us more than we asked when they didn’t edit out the part where they declared their faith and called upon Jesus Christ. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith,” he said. Beshir said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy and Samuel, saying that their martyrdom was “a badge of honor to Christianity.” Kamel’s interview with SAT 7-ARABIC went viral, receiving over 100,000 views within hours of its posting online. When asked what his reaction would be if he saw an Islamic State militant, Kamel recalled his mother’s response. "My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason her son entered the kingdom of heaven,” Beshir said.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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