On Sunday, February 15, 2015 the world witnessed the massacre committed by the Islamic State (ISIS) of 21 Coptic Egyptians in Libya. Such atrocities are not new to the Coptic Church and have existed since the inception of Christianity in Egypt in the early first century. Saint Mark the Apostle was the first martyr in the land of Egypt and his blood saturated its grounds as he was dragged by horses throughout its streets until his death. The Coptic Orthodox Church is known as the Church of the Martyrs and Her God is the God of the living and not of the dead. Christian martyrs convey the greatest symbol of love and offer to Christ the ultimate sacrifice. They are an exemplification of Biblical commands. Our Lord Jesus Christ states, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his loved ones” (John 15:13).
In honor of the Church’s new martyrs, the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya, St. George Coptic Orthodox Church of Greater Philadelphia will hold a ceremony to celebrate their love for Christ, their courage against the enemy, their patience against oppression, and their victory over death. The Coptic Orthodox Church has inducted the 21 Martyrs of Libya into the Choirs of the Saints. The event will take place on Sunday, March 1st from 2:30-3:30pm at St. George Coptic Orthodox Church of Greater Philadelphia located at 411 DeKalb Street, Norristown PA, 19401. The event will be presided by His Grace Bishop Karas, the Papal Exarch for North America.
The Coptic Orthodox Church condemns the slaughter of the Christians in Libya, Syria, Iraq and their surrounding regions. The Church also rejects the killings of Christians and non-Christians worldwide by ISIS and other Islamic extremists. We entreat God to show mercy upon His creation and to remove the hatred and animosity from the hearts of all people. We offer our prayers for the families of the martyrs and ask God to grant them peace of heart and His heavenly consolation.