Commemorating Coptic martyrs

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Feb, 2019 12:18 PM

Bishop Nicholas was the host at Lambeth Palace last week, at an event commemorating the fourth anniversary of the martyrdom of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

Commemorating Coptic martyrs

Original photo courtesy copticcentre.blogspot.com

Welcoming people to the event, Bishop Nicholas said:
“Four years ago, on 15 February, twenty-one Coptic Orthodox Christians were murdered in Libya in an execution that was filmed and broadcast widely. These images shocked the world and brought into focus the tragic truth that martyrdom is a contemporary reality rather than just a relic of the ancient world.

“The Coptic Church stands in faithful succession to St Mark. The second century Father, Tertullian, writing in North Africa, speaks for the Christian tradition when he describes martyrdom as complete victory. By faith and courage the martyr vanquishes the enemy. This is difficult for our modern ears to hear, but it was the teaching of the Church in North Africa in the second century as it is in the twenty-first century.

“So, when we think of the martyrs of our lifetimes, these twenty-one Christians among them, we have conflicting thoughts and emotions. We mourn and grieve the senseless loss of life, we rail against violence inflicted on the innocent, we pray that a lasting, Godly peace might spread throughout the world and we give thanks to God for the brave witness of those who suffer and die for the faith.

“You are most welcome here on a day when the world is celebrating St Valentine’s Day, a saint from a period of persecution in the Western Church turned to good purpose in the celebration of love and today in prayers for the love of God’s creation and care of the climate. In God’s purposes martyrdom and witness to the Gospel has to be turned to good and I look forward to hearing more from others as the evening unfolds. May God bless our gathering and ourselves in his service.”

The reception was part of a series of events held In London and New York and Washington DC.

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