Pope Francis condemned on Monday the recent ISIS beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians, simply because they were believers in Jesus Christ and not the Prophet Mohamed.
The Pope, having heard the tragic news from Libya about the fate of the Egyptian Christians, said that the men killed were, “martyrs who belong to all Christians.”
“Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians. Their only words were: ‘Jesus, help me!’ They were killed simply because they were Christians. The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard. 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.”
Pope Francis’ message though, was one of unity, as he urged his fellow Christians.
“As we recall these brothers and sisters who were killed only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage one another to go forward with this ecumenism that is emboldening us, the ecumenism of blood.”
The Christian world was shocked after ISIS posted a video along with the caption, “a message signed with blood to the nation of the cross,” with many changing their Twitter statuses to “21” in solidarity with the 21 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded.
Christianity Today reported that Coptic Christians represent the largest concentration of Christians in the Middle East, making up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people.
As Atef Gendy, an expert on Christianity explained, “The accurate definition of Coptic is the ethnic identity of Christians of Egypt, but the common understanding is of the Orthodox, due to their status as the oldest church.”
Despite their roots or beliefs, there’s no question that the brutal beheadings of the 21 Egyptian Christians was a horrific event, and one that most Christians around the world won’t forget in a hurry.
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