Coptic Orthodox Christian pray during a religious session by father Makary at St Mark Cathedral in Cairo.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the wake of the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians perpetrated by the Islamic State, the Coptic Church has declared the deceased as martyrs, and has set a commemorative day in the Church calendar to honor them.
Pope Tarwadros II, the Coptic Pope in Alexandria, announced that the names of the 21 murdered Copts will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxium, an honor similar to a canonization.
The Egyptian Christians will be commemorated on the 15th of February in the Gregorian calendar, and the 8th of Amshir in the Coptic calendar. Not only does this fall on the anniversary of the Copts’ murders, but it also falls on the feast day of the Presentation of Jesus at the temple.
In the video depicting the beheading, “A message signed with blood to the Nation of the Cross," some of the Copts can be seen declaring their faith and mouthing prayers to Jesus Christ just before their deaths.
The Patriarch of Alexandria of Coptic Catholics, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, expressed his grief in public statement, saying that he “offers his condolence to all the families of these martyrs who gave their lives for the faith, and at the same time expresses his gratitude to President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and all the institutions of the Egyptian government for giving an immediate response to this act of terrorism”.
Pope Francis also showed his sympathies for the Copts, decrying the actions of the Islamic State and expressing the commonality between all Christians
"The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard,” Francis said. “It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”
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