The new martyrs of Libya
The first ikons of the 21 new martyrs of Libya have already begun to appear on social media sites on the internet. Here is one posted by Rijo Geevarghese on Facebook.
Rijo Geevarghese also notes
ISIS announced the execution of 21 Copts but only 20 names were confirmed, most of them were from the province of Minya (Upper Egypt). There was an inaccuracy in the number of Egyptian hostages; there were only 20 Egyptians (Copts). Then who was this remaining one non-Coptic victim?
Ahram-Canadian News was able to gather information about this man. He was a Chadian citizen (darker skin shown in picture) who accepted Christianity after seeing the immense faith of his fellow Coptic Christians to die for Christ. When the terrorist forced him to reject Jesus Christ as God, looking at his Christian friends he replied, “their God is my God” so the terrorist beheaded him also.
Such things are nothing new.
Many Christians have been killed for their faith in Egypt and Libya, from the beginning of the Christian faith in those parts until now.
Such things have also been happening in neighbouring countries for centuries. Westerners often forget that Christianity is a Middle Eastern religion, and speak of “Christendom” as if Christians were powerful. But Christians have long been an oppressed minority in the lands where Christianity first spread, mand many have been called on to die for Christ.
Perhaps a fitting memorial for the new martyrs is an anthem composed for the martyrs of many centuries ago:
Let thy servants praise thee, O Lord.
O holy martyrs and teachers of faith, pray that there may be peace in creation.
Let wars be brought to naught and contentions cease among us.
And may the church sing praises by the mouth of her children.
And thy saints give thanks unto thee.
May the holy martyrs who confessed thee in their afflictions
and propitiated thee by the blood which their necks poured forth
make request for sinners to thee, O our Lord
that in the day of judgement thou mayest forgive their trespasses.
Let them speak of the glory of thy kingsom.
The martyrs saw the glory of the kingdom in their minds
when they were being killed by their persecutors
and they joyfully endured the tortures in their bodies
and our Lord Jesus Christ received their spirits.
Honoured is their blood in his sight.
Let us diligently honour with songs of the Holy Spirit
the bones of the martyrs who endured afflictions
that we may find help in the day of recompense of their labours
from the goodness of the mercies of God.
The Lord on high is glorious.
On high are your crowns and in the world are your assemblies
O martyrs, preachers of Christ the King.
On high, and to the deep, lo your feasts are celebraterd.
O sowers of peace in the four quarters of the earth.
Seek the Lord and be strengthened.
O martyrs, seek for mercy from the merciful God
that he may make his peace to dwell in the four quarters of the earth.
And when our Lord is revealed and the clouds bear up your bodies
pray that with you we may inherit the kingdom.
My voice shalt thou hear in the mornings, O Lord
In the morning the martyrs cried in the judgment hall before the persecutors
We will not deny the Heavenly Bridegrooom
For it is he who delivereth us from the hands of the ungodly
and clotheth our bodies with glory in his kingdom.
(from East Syrian Daily Offices: Wednesday Matins)