Local Coptic Christian church hosts memorial to honor 21 Egyptians killed by ISIS

It was a horrific video released one week ago today. 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt were marched down a beach in Libya and then beheaded by a group of militants claiming affiliation with ISIS.

Most of the victims were poor fishermen who had gone to Libya in hopes of making some money. Those killings were condemned by several leaders and countries around the world, and one week after their deaths, the 21 victims are being honored by others who follow their faith.

A Coptic Christian church in Scottsdale held a special memorial for them this afternoon. And the Coptic church declared the 21 men martyrs who were killed because of their faith.

Local members of the Coptic church gathered today to celebrate the life of those men.

The terrorist group ISIS claimed the murders are a message to "the nation of the cross." This has religious leaders seeing this as a direct attack on the Christian faith.

"It's very significant to us in the community because these people, even those they had the opportunity to give up their faith inside, they stuck with their faith in the name of Christ, so it's only right for us to honor them," said Alex Guirguis with St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church.

Today's memorial featured a long line of crosses showing each man's face and name in Scottsdale where St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church invited the community to gather and celebrate the 21 men, who are now being called martyrs.

"They were martyrs," says Malak Malak with St. Mark Orthodox Church. "We all believe they are in heaven now and we are trying to memorialize them all the time. 

"I'd like the whole world to come as one support human being to help one another to get through this attitude behavior which is against humanity," said Sam Hanna a Deacon with St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church.

It's a similar scene at Coptic churches around the world. Members of the faith are asking everyone to pray for the 21 Egyptian Christians and remember their sacrifice.

"Even though these are tragic times, its good to know that through these horrible events that occur we can still come together as a family to support each other."

The Egyptian Christians will be commemorated on the 15th of February in the Gregorian calendar.
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