Egypt’s Pope Tawadros holds mass for Christians slain by Islamic State

Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

( Egypt’s Coptic Pope Tawadros II on Tuesday led a mass to memorialize the 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians who were murdered by Islamic State terrorists in Libya.

The mass, held at the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, came amid the Egyptian government’s calls for the international community to convene and address the deteriorating security situation in Libya. Egypt launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Libya, killing dozens of terrorists.

In a statement, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said he sent his foreign minister to Washington, DC and New York “to ensure that the international community lives up to its responsibilities.”

On Sunday, a video titled “A Message Signed With Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” released by the media arm of Islamic State, showed the beheadings of more than a dozen Egyptian Christians on a beach in Libya.

Coptic Christians comprise nearly 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 90 million, making them the largest Christian community remaining in the Middle East. 

Many Egyptians, including Christians, work in Libya in the construction or service industries, in order to send money back home to support their families. 

Pope Francis denounced the murders by Islamic State in a phone conversation with Pope Tawadros on Monday, expressing his “profound participation with the pain of the Coptic Church for the recent barbaric assassination of Coptic Christians by Islamic fundamentalists,” according to a Vatican spokesman.

Posted on February 17, 2015 .