Feb 17, 2016 |
“One profound result and gift of this horrific act is that it brought people together,” said Bishop Amba Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church, in a service of commemoration last week in the Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the Palace of Westminster, London.
“These men paid the ultimate price, but gave us a cause to advocate for all those persecuted; they also showed us that there was a level of evil that we must all stand in solidarity against, and a level of courage, faithfulness and defiance that we must all aspire to,” Angelos added.
The Copts were kidnapped in separate incidents in Libya throughout December 2014 and January 2015, before IS released a video showing their mass beheading on Feb. 15, 2015.
The video, titled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” showed a number of IS militants standings behind the Christians in orange jumpsuits, getting ready to carry out their executions.
Christians and other minorities have suffered greatly at the hands of IS across Iraq and Syria, but also in other territories, like Libya, where the terror group has been spreading. A year later, IS remains in control of several major cities and continues its severe persecution of minorities despite efforts by world leaders to contain them.
Fides News Agency reported that bishops and priests of Coptic Orthodox Church have been marking in liturgy the deaths of the 21 Copts, who are being remembered as the “martyrs of Libya,” because they were killed specifically for their Christian faith.
Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II officially registered the 21 Copts in the Synaxarium, the book of the martyrs of the Coptic Church, and established their memory to be celebrated on Feb. 15.
A number of church leaders have shared their thoughts on the beheaded Christians, with the Lord Alton of Liverpool stating after the Westminster service:
“It is especially important that we mark the anniversary of the brutal murder of the 21 Coptic Christians in Libya a year ago, not only to keep them in our memory, but to remember and advocate for all those who continue to face persecution in the Middle East. What is happening to Christians and minorities in the region is nothing short of Genocide and we must not stand by and watch as whole communities are eradicated.”
The Rev. Rose Hudson-Wilkin added that Christians must let the world know that the 21 Coptic are not going to be forgotten.
“We remember them, we remember what happened to them, and we will forgive because we belong to God. I also hope that it is sending a message that we stand together,” he said, according to Independent Catholic News.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
17These things I command you, that ye love one another.
18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
22If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
23He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
24If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.
25But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
26But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
(To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, A Psalm of David.) Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
2I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
3I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.
4They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
5O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
6Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel.
7Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
8I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.
9For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
10When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
11I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
12They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.
13But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.
14Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
15Let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
16Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
17And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily.
18Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: deliver me because of mine enemies.
19Thou hast known my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonour: mine adversaries are all before thee.
20Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
21They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
22Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
23Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
24Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
25Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
26For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.
27Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.
28Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.
29But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.
30I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
31This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
32The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.
33For the LORD heareth the poor, and despiseth not his prisoners.
34Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein.
35For God will save Zion, and will build the cities of Judah: that they may dwell there, and have it in possession.
36The seed also of his servants shall inherit it: and they that love his name shall dwell therein.
“People start to heal the moment they feel heard.”