It is a special day for the Coptic community of Minya province, Upper Egypt, as a new church was inaugurated this morning in Al-Our village in remembrance of 20 Egyptian Copts and one Ghanaian Christian beheaded by the so-called Islamic State on the Libyan coast three years ago on Thursday.
In the early morning, a mass was held at the new Church of the Martyrs of Faith and Homeland by Bishop Bevnotious. The church was packed with Christians who travelled to Al-Our from various parts of Minya – where the murdered Copts came from. Although the inauguration was not an official event – the governor of Minya did not attend – it still received extensive media coverage, partially because the construction of the church was funded by the Egyptian government. Security forces were present throughout the event.
Boushra Fawzy’s son Kiryollos was one of those killed. He was 22.
“We are very happy that we have this wonderful big church named after our martyrs. It is honoring them,” the father told World Watch Monitor. “We were happy today that a Mass for the third anniversary of their martyrdom was held in their church and we felt a great joy during the service, because that was a dream for us.”
You can watch a video preview of the church below:
As part of the ceremony, the bodies of all 21 victims were expected to be reburied in one big coffin inside the church. However, World Watch Monitor learnt this week that the families were still waiting for their loved ones’ remains to be returned to them and had not been told when exactly it would happen.
Holy martyrs of Egypt, pray for us!