Egypt And US Christians Declare ISIS Victims ‘Martyrs’

by Ivan Plis  |  published on February 23, 2015

Just days after 21 Christians’ beheading in Libya swept through headlines, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announced on Saturday that they would join its official calendar of saints.

The grisly murder led many in the Middle East and in the West to call them martyrs — examples of Christian grace in the face of hostility and persecution. While the Coptic Church has a standard waiting period of 50 years before considering a candidate for sainthood, the overwhelming amount of video evidence led its leader, Pope Tawadros II, to make a historic exception. (RELATED: Who Were ISIS’ Egyptian Christian Victims?)

The move was accompanied by an icon, a formal religious image depicting the 20 Egyptians and one Ghanaian who died at the hands of ISIS extremists. The picture, created by American Coptic artist Tony Rezk, depicts them receiving crowns of martyrdom from Jesus as they wear their orange prison jumpsuits and kneel on the beach where they were killed.