First commemoration of the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya

16 Feb 2024

On Thursday 15 February 2024, on the occasion of the first commemoration in the Catholic Church of the 21 Coptic Martyrs of Libya, whose inclusion in the Roman Martyrology was announced by Pope Francis on May 11, 2023, an Ecumenical Prayer was held at St. Peter's Basilica at the Choir Chapel.

The prayer (booklet), organized by the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, was presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, with the participation of H.E. Msgr Antonios Aziz Mina, Coptic Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Ghizeh, the Revd Fr Thaouphilos, Vicar General of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Turin-Rome, the Revd Antonio Gabriel, Pastor of the Coptic Church of St Mina in Rome, and the Coptic Choir of Rome.

In his homily [IT], Cardinal Koch said the Coptic martyrs "called to mind a reality that we tend to forget or even repress, but which Jesus clearly foretold: 'Remember the word I told you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you' (Jn 15:20)," concluding that "the communion of martyrs undoubtedly speaks more eloquently than the divisions that still divide us today."

Following the prayer, the documentary film "The 21: The Power of Faith," made under the patronage of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, in the home village of the 21 Martyrs, was screened at the Vatican Filmoteca. At the conclusion of the film, a panel discussion on the topic of ecumenism of blood gathered Cardinal Koch, H.E. Bishop Aziz Mina, Revd Anthony Gabriel and Mr Samuel Armnius, film director.

The event was attended by numerous ecumenical guests, including Revd Matthew Laferty of the Methodist Ecumenical Office in Rome, Revd Tara Curlewis of the Reformed Churches Ecumenical Office in Rome, and Revd Fr Psak Tepirjian of the Armenian Apostolic Church.


Photos © DPCU - Deacon Viken Abassian