Pope Francis Recognizes 21 Copts Killed by ISIS as Martyrs PHOTOS/Reuters
VATICAN – Pope Francis on Thursday (11/5/2023) announced that 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians who were beheaded by ISIS in Libya in 2015 was recognized as a martyr by the Vatican.
As Reuters reports, Pope Francis disclosed the move during a meeting with Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church and said he did it with Tawadros’ approval.
The execution of 21 Copts, 20 Egyptians and a Ghanaian, took place on February 15, 2015. They were dressed in orange clothes on a beach in the Libyan city of Sirte, which was then controlled by ISIS. The radical group then posted videos of the killings, showing people praying as they died.
Pope Francis told Tawadros that the inscription of the man known as the Roman Martyrology, or calendar of saints, is “a sign of the spiritual communion that unites our two Churches”.
Tawadros, 70, was at the Vatican to mark the 50th anniversary of the first meeting between a Roman pope and a Coptic pope, which took place between their respective predecessors, Paul VI and Shenouda III, in 1973.
Copts comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s mostly Muslim population and there are small communities of Coptic Christians throughout the Middle East and Africa. They have long been attacked by Islamist militants who see them as heretics.