Martyrdom for Christians means suffering death, sometimes with torture, for refusing to deny faith in Jesus Christ, far different from the Muslim idea of martyrdom. And the reward isn’t 72 virgins but ineffable eternal communion with God, as St. Paul puts it: “But as Scripture says: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.'” (1 Cor. 2:9)
The Coptic 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 Church calendar.
Pope Tawadros II announced that the names of the martyrs will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxarium, the Oriental Churchâ€™s equivalent to the Roman Martyrology. This procedure is also equivalent to canonization in the Latin Church.
According to, 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.
Militants of the Islamic State released a gruesome video entitled â€œA Message Signed in Blood to the Nation of the Crossâ€ in which they released a warning saying they were â€œsouth of Rome.â€ They then proceeded to behead the Christian men, some of whom were seen mouthing the words â€œLord Jesus Christâ€ moments before their death.
“While the killings have stirred fears of the Islamic Stateâ€™s close proximity to Europe, they have also strengthened many in their faith.
“In an interview with Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC on Wednesday, Beshir Kamel, brother of two of the Coptic martyrs, even thanked the Islamic State for including their declaration of faith in the videos before killing them.
â€œ’ISIS gave us more than we asked when they didnâ€™t edit out the part where they declared their faith and called upon Jesus Christ. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith,’â€ he said.
“Beshir said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy and Samuel, saying that their martyrdom was â€œ’a badge of honor to Christianity.’
“Kamelâ€™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 motherâ€™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,’Â Beshir said.”