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Following Christ can involve martyrdom, Cardinal Koch recalls at commemoration of Coptic martyrs

February 19, 2024

» Continue to this story on Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity

CWN Editor's Note: Cardinal Kurt Koch, the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, presided at an ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter’s Basilica in commemoration of the 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya, who were kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Islamic State in 2015.

Cardinal Koch was joined by representatives of the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Catholic churches.

“Christian martyrdom reveals itself to be the supreme act of love towards God and towards brothers and sisters in the faith,” Cardinal Koch preached.

Citing John 15:20, he said that “we must realistically assume that following Jesus Christ can involve martyrdom, as the highest testimony of love. The martyrs of the Church are not a marginal phenomenon, but constitute its fundamental fulcrum.”

“Currently, the Christian faith is the most persecuted religion,” he continued. “Christianity has once again become a martyr Church, to an incomparable extent ... The communion of martyrs undoubtedly speaks more eloquently than the divisions that still divide us today.”

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