In what may be a thinly veiled message to the ISIS terror network that they aren’t easily cowed, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria has declared the 21 murdered Christians to officially be added to the Church calender as both saints and martyrs. Deemed “The 21 Coptic New Martyrs of Libya,” the Coptic Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and Apostolic See of St. Mark very well may may have signaled to the Cairo government that the 60 million Copts world-wide are solidly behind President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s fight against Islamic Jihadism.
As reported by the Breitbart.com news portal on Feb. 23, 2015, Pope Tawadros II stated that the names of the 21 martyrs who were lined up and decapitated by ISIS earlier this month will be added to the Coptic Synaxarium, the Coptic official list of Martyrs, a procedure similar to canonization in the Latin Church. Entitled “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” proof of the kidnapped Christians beheadings were evidenced in a particularly bloody video released by ISIS-aligned jihadists which actually showed the men having their heads essentially slowly carved off. As seen on the video, the last words of many of the martyrs were “Jesus, help me” and “God, help me.”
The Pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat noted that President al-Sisi was the first Egyptian president to ever visit any Egyptian Christian church during liturgical celebrations. Cutting short a visit to the Gulf States, Sisi attended Christmas Eve Liturgy at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral. The Orthodox Copts, which along with other Orthodox denominations celebrates Christmas on January 7 according to the ancient Alexandrian liturgical calender.
As reported, the president “stayed for 10 minutes, addressed worshipers, then left quickly, in order not to interrupt the celebrations any further. Coptic worshipers reportedly chanted ‘We love you Sisi,’ ‘[Muslims and Christians are] One hand,’ and ‘Long live Egypt!'” Five weeks later when the news broke of ISIS butchering 21 kidnapped Egyptian Christians, President Sisi ordered the Egyptian Air Force to strike ISIS targets in Libya.
As the nation’s leader told the world that he and his nation “reserves the right of retaliation and with the methods and timing it sees fit for retribution for those murderers and criminals who are without the slightest humanity.” Himself a practicing Muslim, President Sisi also became the first Egyptian president to declare a historic nation-wide week of mourning for the murdered Christians.