Thursday, February 15, 2018

Holy Martyrs of Libya, pray for us

21 Martyrs of Libya
by Tony Rezk
(See more about this icon below)
The martyrs of Libya are the 21 young men who withstood imprisonment by ISIS for 40 days and then were murdered when they refused to renounce Jesus Christ.

They died with Jesus' name on their lips, saying "Jesus help us" and "My Lord Jesus."

They were martyred on this day in 2015.
The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ. As we recall these brothers who died only because they confessed Christ, I ask that we encourage each another to go forward with this ecumenism which is giving us strength, the ecumenism of blood. The martyrs belong to all Christians.
In these uncertain times, I am strengthened by their witness, faithful unto death. I pray that I may likewise bear faithful witness in whatever circumstances I find myself.

Let us pray for those persecuted for their faith, for the persecutors to recognize the truth they strive to silence, and that we will be as faithful our love and witness.

Holy martyrs, pray for us and for the whole world. Amen.
+Milad Makeen Zaky
+Abanub Ayad Atiya
+Maged Solaimain Shehata
+Yusuf Shukry Yunan
+Kirollos Shokry Fawzy
+Bishoy Astafanus Kamel
+Somaily Astafanus Kamel
+Malak Ibrahim Sinweet
+Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros
+Girgis Milad Sinweet
+Mina Fayez Aziz
+Hany Abdelmesih Salib
+Bishoy Adel Khalaf
+Samuel Alham Wilson
+Ezat Bishri Naseef
+Loqa Nagaty
+Gaber Munir Adly
+Esam Badir Samir
+Malak Farag Abram
+Sameh Salah Faruq
+Matthew Ayairga, originally non-Christian, who was captured with the others and witnessed their faith. When terrorists asked if he rejected Jesus, despite knowing he would be killed, he said, "Their God is my God."

21 Martyrs of Libya icon

I discovered this icon at New Liturgical Movement which shared insights about the symbolism, always important for any icon.
[Matthew Ayairga is] represented here in the middle of the group. Note also that the rest of them are shown with the same face as Jesus, whose Holy Name they spoke as they were killed; the sea behind them is shown reddened by their blood. The red stoles and crowns above them symbolize their martyrdom; the stoles are arranged like those of Coptic deacons during the liturgy. ... The red stoles worn by Christ and the martyrs symbolize the cross identifying them as Christlike Cross bearers, (staurophoroi).

Here is an interview with Tony Rezk where he talks about his faith and the Coptic Church.

Holy Martyrs of Libya icon

Holy Martyrs of Libya
by Nikola Sarić
Notice how the waves of the sea stained with the martyrs’ blood are shown around the edge of the image; Matthew Arayiga is distinct among the group on the top right. The men were killed wearing orange prisoners’ jumpsuits; all them are looking at Christ except for the one at the bottom, who is looking out at us.

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