The bodies of 20 Egyptian Christians who were beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach were returned to Egypt. They were placed in coffins engraved with their names then laid to rest in a church built in their honor in Minya province.
The shocking video of 20 Egyptian Christians and one Ghanian in orange jumpsuits awakened the world to the savagery of ISIS. And it jolted Christians to see the courageous faith of humble men who whispered before their deaths the name, “Lord Jesus Christ.”
The impoverished men had left their villages to find work in Libya, which was in a state of chaos. Their bodies were found last October after one of the ISIS butchers was captured and confessed where they were buried.
The 21st martyr, from Ghana, was reportedly beheaded with the Egyptians because he was won over by their faith. When ISIS was identifying Christians in order to kill them, he said, “Their God is my God.”
“We feel an unspeakable joy because their bodies have been returned to us finally,” Mariam Nagah Ghali, the widow of Malak Ibrahim Seniut, told Christian Freedom International.
“They have lifted the heads of all the Christians up and honored us all over the world. We hope to get to the place where they are in now,” she said.
Egyptian President al-Sisi had the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland built as a memorial. A chapel on the first floor now holds the martyrs’ remains.
“We didn’t expect that the bodies of martyrs would be found,” Romany Rayez Aziz, the brother of one of the martyrs Mina Rayez Aziz, told Christian Freedom International. “But finding their bodies was a miracle from God.”
“The Lord said, ‘Those who honor me I will honor.’ And because they honored Christ as they kept the faith and refused to deny Christ, so Christ has honored them through the return of their bodies to us,” he said.
Christian leaders welcomed the martyrs’ bodies at the airport with chants of the Resurrection.
“We learn from them the lesson of steadfastness in faith and the power of faith,” said Fr. Morcos Emile, “and the lesson of not fearing death and the aspiration to eternal life.”
Christians are discriminated against in Egypt, but these Christians’ brutal yet noble death brought Muslim government leaders to the church to honor them and their families.
“ISIS intended this shocking cruelty to Christians to cause people to submit to them out of fear. Instead, it showed the world that Jesus is worth living and dying for,” said Wendy Wright, president of Christian Freedom International.