Sympathy and prayers for the Coptic Christians in Libya

coptic churchFollowing the brutal murder of Coptic Christians in Libya, the Revd David Tatem, the United Reformed Church secretary for ecumenical and interfaith relations, offers the following reflection on behalf of the URC:

“The ecumenical scene in the UK has long been enriched by the presence of brothers and sisters of the Coptic Orthodox Church, so it is with an especial sense of grief that we have learnt of the murder of 21 young Coptic Christians in Libya – by the forces of IS. As fellow Christians we extend our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who have died and stand with the Coptic Church in its determination to work for peace.

“Hearing the news of the murders my mind has been taken back to the experience at the end of January of attending a concert at the British Museum. This was a celebration of 'Message of Peace', an initiative from Egypt in which two choirs, one of Muslim Sufi singers and the other a Christian Coptic choir, combined to sing together songs of peace and hope – drawn from both traditions and in a specially created fusion.

“It was a beautiful and powerful counter to the voices on whichever side that can only curse the other or in the face of the brutality of IS, define Islam as a religion of violence and intolerance. Above all it was a prayer for peace and a demonstration not only that peace is possible but of what peace can look and sound like when cacophany can be turned to harmony.

“In a recent statement by Bishop Angaelos, General Bishops of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, he said: ‘While it may seem illogical or incomprehensible, we also pray for those who have carried out these horrific crimes, that the value of God’s creation and human life may become more evident to them, and in this realization, that the wider effects of pain brought by this and other acts of brutality may be realized avoided. We pray for an end to the dehumanization of captives who become mere commodities to be bartered, traded and negotiated with…’

“May we join Bishop Angaelos in his prayers – remembering all those who have suffered, and continue to suffer, for their faith and beliefs – and in the midst of such sorrow may we find hope in the promise that there will one day be peace.”


  • Note: You can read the full statement from Bishop Angaelos here.    

Image: Coptic Church by Emily Alhadeff ©