On October 17th, Middle Eastern religions expert Doctor David Pinault joined Voice of the Martyrs Korea at a press conference about the increasing persecution against Egypt’s Coptic Christians.
At the conference, Dr. Pinault explained that all Copts are raised to be Christian martyrs, something which has enabled the church to endure more than 1,000 years of subjugation at the hand of Egypt’s Muslim majority.
Middle Eastern religions expert Doctor David Pinault joined Voice of the Martyrs Korea at a press conference about the increasing persecution against Egypt’s Coptic Christians
“Often, Protestants are familiar with Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, but they know very little about Coptic Christianity,”
Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Foley Hyun-Sook says.
“The Copts are the spiritual descendants of great early Christians like Athanasius. Copts and Protestants differ in many religious beliefs and practices, but even our most experienced Korean pastors can learn from the most ordinary Coptic believer the role of suffering and patient endurance in the Christian life.”
“Not only has the Coptic church endured marginalization and persecution for more than one thousand years,” Foley adds, “but some of its own congregation members have become some of the world’s most memorable Christian martyrs.”
2015 ISIS Beheads 21 martyrs video (from alarabiya.net)
Foley gives the example of the 21 Christians (20 Egyptian Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian Christian) who, in a video released by ISIL in 2015, were dressed in orange jumpsuits and beheaded on a beach in Libya for their faith.
“None of these men had attended seminary before the execution. None were Christian workers or missionaries,” Foley says.
“There were simple migrant construction workers who had traveled to Libya in search of work. All were ordinary Coptic believers. However, none denied Christ before their death. In fact, all Coptic Christians have an attitude that they are ready to die for Christ at any moment. This is something we Korean Christians can learn from them.”
Doctor Pinault adds,
“The Coptic church’s response to persecution as been a heightened awareness of Coptic identity and an active strengthening of Christian faith, with a willingness to give non-violent witness to this faith. As one Copt interviewed in Cairo stated, ‘We’re ready to be martyrs.’”
“Since 2011, we’ve seen a consistent increase in the severity of persecution against the Coptic community,” Foley explains.
“Coptic churches have been attacked, Coptic women have been kidnapped, and Coptic men have been killed. All of this happened because they refuse to deny Christ. Even though Copts and Protestant Christians hold different beliefs in some areas, Christ holds us responsible for supporting all those who are persecuted in his name. We can give them the gift of our prayers, and they can give us the gift of their faithful testimony.”
A Korean translation of 『The 21: A Journey Into the Land of Coptic Martyrs』
At this press conference, Voice of the Martyrs Korea also released their new book, a Korean translation of best-selling author Martin Mosebach’s The 21: A Journey Into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. In 2015, Mosebach (himself a Catholic) was astonished by the peace he saw on the faces of the 21 beheaded Coptic martyrs. To learn more about this peace, he traveled to their homeland of Northern Egypt where, to his surprise, Mosebach discovered these 21 men were not unique. Rather, they were average Coptic Christians.
Foley says that the goal of Dr. Pinault’s visit and the publication of Mosebach’s book is to create “a relationship of giving and receiving” between Korean Christians and Copts.
Individuals interested in purchasing The 21 can call Voice of the Martyrs Korea at 02-2065-0703 or go tohttp://www.vomkorea.com/shop.