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21 Coptic saints honored on February 15 in the Roman Rite

Papież Franciszek podczas spotkania z patriarchą Koptów Tawadros II w Pałacu Apostolskim

Vatican Mediai/cpp / ipa-/SIPA/SIPA/East News


Philip Kosloski - published on 02/14/24

The 21 people killed by ISIS on February 15, 2015, are already considered saints by the Coptic Church and are now included in the Roman martyrology.

On February 15, 2015, 21 Christian workers, 20 of whom were Coptic Orthodox and one of whom was Ghanaian, were murdered by the Islamic State organization on a beach in Libya on February 15, 2015.

At the time ISIS released videos and images of their murder, all kneeling on a beach wearing orange jumpsuits.

Icon of the 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya – fr

On the video it can be heard that many of them cried out before their deaths, “O Lord Jesus!

It was clear that their Christianity played a major part in their martyrdom.

Six days later, Patriarch Tawadros II announced the insertion of their names in the “Synaxary,” which is the Eastern equivalent of the Roman martyrology.

In a gesture of union and solidarity, Pope Francis announced on May 11, 2023, in front of Patriarch Tawadros II, that these 21 Coptic saints would be included on the Roman martyrology.

What it means in the Roman Rite

What this means is that these saints of the Coptic Church are now “saints” in the Roman Rite and can be celebrated in the liturgy on February 15.

While February 15 will often fall during Lent in the Roman Rite, they can be “commemorated” on that day at Mass and during the Liturgy of the Hours.

Their celebration is not classified as a memorial or feast, and so honoring them in the liturgy is entirely optional.

Coptic ChristiansMartyrsPope Francis
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