9 February 2018 - The church dedicated to the 21 Coptic martyrs beheaded in Libya in 2015 by cutthroats affiliated to the so-called Islamic State (Daesh) will be officially inaugurated next February 15th, on the day chosen for their liturgical memory. The place of worship, built in al Our - the village next to the city of Samalut, in the province of Minya, where 13 of the 21 martyrs came from - was completed in the last months, and the ceremonies of February 15th will mark its solemn inauguration. Many relatives of the Coptic martyrs will be present at the liturgical and commemorative moments, and the possibility that these mortal remains may be transferred to the new church have not yet been confirmed which in September were identified in a mass grave on the Libyan coast, near the town of Sirte.
The 21 Egyptian Copts had been kidnapped in Libya in early January 2015. The video of their decapitation was shown on jihadist sites on February 15th. Just a week after their brutal act, Orthodox Catholic Patriarch Tawadros II decided to register the 21 martyrs in the Synaxarium, the book of martyrs of the Coptic Church, establishing that their memory was to be celebrated on February 15th.
"The video depicting their execution – said after the massacre Anba Antonios Aziz Mina, Catholic Emeritus Bishop of Guizeh – had the intention of spreading terror. During their barbaric execution, the victims repeated 'Lord Jesus Christ'. The name of Jesus was the last word on their lips. As in the passion of the first martyrs, they put their trust in Him who would soon receive them. And so they celebrated their victory, the victory that no executioner can take away from them". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2018)