Statement on the Murder of 21 Egyptian Christians

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness I write you today about the heinous murder of 21 Egyptian Christians at the hand of the so-called Islamic State branch in Libya. These men from the Upper Egyptian city of Samalout are no different from thousands of other Muslim and Christian Egyptians in Libya, seeking employment to support their families back home.

Except that these 21 were specifically chosen for their Christian faith. The video of their beheading expressed the Islamic State’s intention to increasingly target the Copts of Egypt.

This morning the Egyptian government launched airstrikes on Islamic State positions. It has declared a week of mourning, banned further travel to Libya, and will work to facilitate the return of all Egyptian citizens. The foreign minister has been dispatched to the United Nations to discuss the necessary international response.

The Anglican Church in Egypt and the world expresses its deep condolences to the families of these men, and also to his Holiness Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Please join me in praying for peace in Libya, Egypt, and the entire Middle East. Please pray the international community will act in wisdom, correctly and efficiently, and support Egypt in its war on terror. Please pray the churches of Egypt will comfort their sons and daughters, encouraging them to resist fear and hatred. And please pray for the perpetrators of this terrible crime, that God would be merciful to them and change their hearts.

Jesus tells us in John 16:33, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Such cheer may seem impossible, but it is God’s promise. Please pray for us, that we may live lives worthy of his name, and hold to the testimony exhibited by the brave Egyptians in Libya.


The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Archbishop of Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
Primate of the Episcopal / Anglican
Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

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4 thoughts on “Statement on the Murder of 21 Egyptian Christians

  1. Archbishop Justin has done an excellent and vitally important job in alerting the world to the extreme pressures facing so many Christians throughout the Middle East, parts of North Africa and the Sub-Continent. All forms of the criminal persecution of believers need to be constantly brought into the light so that governments and people of good faith and every faith across the nations will know how much has changed, and so seek to bring pressure through the international media and world forums to arrest and reverse these terrifying trends.

  2. I heard with sorrow of the martyrdom of Coptic Christians in Libya. From 1976 to 1979 I was the Anglican Chaplain in Tripoli, and Honorary Chaplain of the British Embassy. We worshipped in the villa church of Christ the King. I visited regularly the Orthodox church in central Tripoli, and several times the Coptic priest and church on the outskirts of the city. I hope that better days will come for all in Libya, be they Christian or Muslim..

  3. Be assured, Archbishop, of our prayers during this holy time of Lent. We pray for the repose of these new martyrs, for their families and for the turning of the hearts of those who killed them. May the life-giving Cross bring forgiveness to us all!

  4. our deepest prayers join yours in the commitment for a true and just peace.