THE Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland, a new church dedicated in memory of the 21 Christians beheaded on a Libyan beach in 2015 (20 February 2015), was opened in the Egyptian village of Al-Aour, on 15 February, exactly three years after the atrocity took place. Of the 21 Christian expatriate labourers executed by Islamic State, 13 came from the village, in the Minya governate.
More than 500 Coptic Christians attended the service of inauguration, which was filmed by the Christian TV network Sat-7, and subsequently broadcast online and via satellite TV. The building was funded by the Egyptian government, fulfilling a promise made by the President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
After anointing the altar, inscribed with the names of the 21, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop Bevnotious of Samalout, said: “Knives were held to their throats to deny their faith after 40 days of being kidnapped, insulted, and threatened. But, like the martyrs of every era in the history of our Church, they held on to Christ. They are an example for us to hold on to our faith and to Christ, regardless of circumstances.”
Photographs of the men were displayed. An estimated 120 Christians have been killed in terrorist attacks in Egypt since December 2016.
SAT-7Portraits of 12 of the 21 Christians beheaded by IS are displayed at the inauguration service of the Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland, which has been dedicated in their memory