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ICC Note:

The remains of the 21 Coptic martyrs have been identified by DNA and their bodies are expected to arrive in Egypt’s village of Al Our this weekend or early next week. The families of the martyrs have been long anticipating this moment, and the church erected in their memory is ready to receive the bodies for burial. This represents a moment of closure for these families, who are very thankful for the upcoming opportunity to bury their loved ones with dignity. At the same time, there is much work to be done in Egypt for the protection of Christians. Pray for the protection of their families as they proceed with burial plans and for the safety of all who will attend the funeral.  


11/22/2017 Egypt (Fides) –   The deadly remains of the 21 Coptic martyrs beheaded in Libya by jihadists linked to the Islamic State (Daesh) may arrive during the weekend or at the beginning of next week in Cairo to be buried in the church already erected in their memory in the village of Al Our, near Samalut, in the Egyptian province of Minya. According to ecclesial sources cited by Egyptian media, the results of the DNA analysis have allowed to identify the bodies of the 21 martyrs who were found buried in an area of the Libyan coast in the city of Sirte in early October.

A few weeks later (see Fides 3/11/2017) families of the “Libyan martyrs” had received from the Department of Legal Medicine the invitation to visit the health facilities in Minya to undergo a DNA test that will identify the individual bodies of the martyrs. Family members of the martyrs – report the Egyptian media – expressed joy and hope that this process would allow the identification of individual bodies before burial, in the church-shrine built in their memory.
On Friday, October 6, the Egyptian authorities had officially confirmed the discovery of the remains of the 21 Copts beheaded. The bodies had been found with their hands tied behind their back, and were wearing the same orange-colored tracksuits they wore in the macabre video filmed by the executioners at the time of their decapitation. Even the heads of the victims were found next to their bodies.

The video of the decapitation of the 21 Egyptian Copts was spread on the jihadist websites in February 2015. A week after the film’s release, Orthodox Catholic Patriarch Tawadros II decided to register the 21 martyrs in the Synaxarium, the book of martyrs of the Coptic Church, establishing that their memory was to be celebrated on February.

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