When the Islamic State released video footage of the brutal murder of Coptic Christians in Libya early this week, one bishop noticed something astonishing.
“In the moment of their barbaric execution … The name of Jesus was the last word on their lips,” Bishop Antonios Aziz Mina of Giza says.
Pope Francis labeled the 21 ISIS victims as martyrs on Tuesday.
“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard … It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ,” the Pope said, according to The Economist.
“Our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian … the Lord welcome them as martyrs,” he prayed the next day.
“They entrusted themselves to the one who would receive them soon after. That name, whispered in the last moments, was like the seal of their martyrdom,” Mina says.
Coptic Christians are a minority and in more danger in the Middle East than other Christians.
With brutal persecution, Bishop Giovanni Martinelli of Tripoli, Libya, tells the Inquistr that “Few of us remain.” Those who remain in the area are mostly Philippine nurses who wish to continue to provide aid while area hospitals have been evacuated.