Martyrs of Libya

The Twenty-One Martyrs of Libya

The twenty one martyrs of Libya are deemed as modern-day saints who recently received their crowns of martyrdom, on February 15th, 2015.

The twenty one individuals had journeyed to Libya in pursuit of better-paying job opportunities. The individuals had labored as construction workers in the city of Sirte, Libya, where they were then kidnapped and later threatened death by a terrorist organization due to their religious Christian affiliation.

Twenty of the men were Coptic Christians from Egypt, all from the same small area and identifiable by the small crosses tattooed at the base of their thumbs. The twenty-first man, Matthew, was believed to be from Chad but had no visible tattoed cross on him. So, the terrorists are said to have told him to go. However, he said, ‘I am a Christian’ and chose to share the others’ fate, receiving the crown of martyrdom.

The story of these martyrs is especially peculiar as their martyrdom transpired during the age of Internet accessibility with the video of their martyrdom shared across numerous platforms. The five-minute video was broadcasted, showing the twenty one men dressed in orange jumpsuits, kneeling on a beach, with their black-clothed attackers standing behind them.

Each one is systematically beheaded, and the video clearly shows many of the men praying “Lord Jesus Christ” in their final moments.

The Coptic Orthodox Church recognizes these individuals as modern-day martyrs who received the crown of martyrdom. May we keep the martyrs in our prayers, and glory be to God forever. Amen.

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