Ethiopia and global church in mourning

NEWS | Sophie Timothy
Wednesday 22 April 2015

Ethiopia has begun three days of mourning for the 30 Christians believed to have been murdered by  Islamic State in Libya.

IS released another propaganda video on Sunday, purporting to show a group of Ethiopian Christians being beheaded and another group being shot in the head.

In the video, those killed are described as “worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church”.

According to Al Jazeera, joint prayers have been held in Ethiopia with Muslim leaders since news broke. It says hundreds of Ethiopians marched through the capital on Tuesday, demanding justice for those killed.

The Anglican Bishop for Ethiopia, Grant LeMarquand said while it was too early to know the names and identities of those murdered, “Their names are known to God and they are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8).”

Hailing them as martyrs he spoke of the hope they have in Jesus. “Their denominational affiliation is no longer of any importance: they are among the unnumbered throng from every nation, tribe, people and language gathered before the throne and the Lamb (Rev 7:9) who have come out of the great persecution (Rev 7:14) and have had every tear wiped away from their eyes (Rev 7:17).”

The patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, Abune Mathias, has called the killings “repugnant”, saying Ethiopians must raise their voice and “tell the world that the killing of the innocent like animals is completely unacceptable.

Pope Francis has overnight expressed his “great distress and sadness” at the news of the “shocking violence perpetrated against innocent Christians.”

He expressed “spiritual solidarity” with the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church saying, “It makes no difference whether the victims are Catholic, Copt, Orthodox or Protestant. Their blood is one and the same in their confession of Christ!”

Last February Islamic State militants in Libya beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, while earlier this month in Kenya Al-Shabaab gunmen murdered 150 people at a university, singling out Christians to be killed at close range.

The head of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby was in Egypt over the weekend as a gesture of condolence to the Egyptian church when he heard of the news of the latest executions.

Archbishop Welby told the BBC on the weekend IS is “deeply evil” and also condemned the killings.

While the Christian world mourns the death of these brothers, International Christian Concern has produced  “A message from the people of the cross”, a powerful video which invites the murderers to find forgiveness at the cross. Image credit: A.Davey via Flickr.

Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? (A Letter from the People of the Cross) by Mighty.

Posted by International Christian Concern on Sunday, 19 April 2015

Image credit: A.Davey via Flickr.

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