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Coptic Church Canonizes Christian Men Beheaded by ISIS as Martyr Saints

  • Amanda Casanova

    Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and…

  • 2019 Feb 14

A new book releases Friday that provides insight into the 21 Christian men who were beheaded by ISIS members on a Libyan beach in 2015 in a widely publicized video.

German novelist Martin Mosebach authored the book, The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. The book will take a look at the men who were pictured in the photos and videos.

The 2015 photo shows the men on their knees with their backs toward the Mediterranean Sea. Behind the men are Islamic State militants with knives.

Their deaths shook the world and later, the Coptic Church officially canonized the 21 men as martyr saints.

According to the Christian Post, Mosebach saw one of the photos from the beheading on a German Catholic magazine. The picture showed the head of one of the men, Kiryollos Boushra Fawzy.

“This picture caught my eye in 2016,” Mosebach said. “An image of the face of one migrant worker beheaded by ISIS on the beach in Libya.”

So, Mosebach visited a town where some of the men had lived and spoke with many of their family members.

“These communities and congregations are very educated and know the faith,” he said. “In the spirituality of the Copts, miracles are a very important thing.”

In El-Aour, Mosebach said, “everybody is talking about miracles.”

According to the Christian Post, handfuls of miracle stories are being circulated about the 21 martyrs. Mosebach shared that some of the stories credit the martyrs with saving children falling out of windows, curing the sick and healing a woman's infertility.

He said one account tells of one of the martyr’s sons falling from a three-story building and breaking his arm. When the son woke up, however, he recalled his father catching him and later X-rays did not show any fractures.

“You can go to every family in this region. They will tell you the same thing,” Mosebach explained. “That they are ready for martyrdom and they wait for the martyrdom and they are proud of the martyrs. They say that ‘our church is the church of the martyrs.’ Martyrs are the seeds of Christianity. As long as people are killed for Christianity, the church is living and not dead.”

Photo courtesy: Pixabay