Bodies of 21 Christian Martyrs Found, Returned To Families

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October 11, 2017Oct 11, 2017

Libyan authorities have uncovered a massive grave in which ISIS buried 21 Coptic Christians they beheaded on camera. The government is expected to return the bodies to their families. 

According to the Daily Caller, Libya's Ministry of the interior found the grave in the town of Sirte, an area once held by ISIS. The bodies were found after a former captive of ISIS provided the location of the bodies. 

According to Christianity Today, ISIS kidnapped the 21 Christians between December 2014 and January 2015. They were then beheaded on a Libyan beach in February 2015, and immediately thereafter a video was published for the world to see. 

Although there will be no official DNA test performed on the bodies, the families of victims will investigate and identify whether they know the men discovered.

Despite the evil nature of the murders and the horrific death of these Christian martyrs, their families were filled with joy to receive news that the bodies have been found. They are surrounded by family and community, who have been encouraging and supporting in this difficult time. 

According to the Daily Caller, one father claimed that: "Our Lord chose the right time for the appearance and return of the remains of the martyrs after the completion of the building of the Church of the Martyrs of Libya to receive the blessed bodies of the martyrs to be placed at the new church in the village. This church is now completed and it is ready to receive its martyred sons, the heroes who lifted the head of the church and Christians all around the world.”

Moreover, a mother of one of the martyrs claimed that the discovery of the bodies was a "great comfort" to her. 

“Before the news of finding the bodies of our martyrs, I was comforted and blessed,” she said. “But now, after hearing the news of finding the bodies of the martyrs, I’m comforted more than before. I will be very happy when I see them and will visit them every day at the church. We pray that God completes their safe return to us.”

The families and communities of these loved ones, reports Christianity Today, have remained steadfast in their faith. And they have not uttered messages of vengeance or anger. To the contrary, they have rejected the temptation to become bitter, angry, or filled with the desire for vengeance.

"They rejected the temptation to become bitter, angry and vengeful, and inspired the world with their gracious and courageous sentiment," writes CT. "Speaking proudly of the resilience of their fathers, brothers, and sons, who had captured the attention of the whole world, they also uttered their forgiveness for those who had so brutally and needlessly taken their lives, and who sought to rob them of their dignity."

The 21 martyrs were made into an icon, which can be seen below. 

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