Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The families of Coptic Christians massacred in February 2015 by jihadists linked to the self-proclaimed Islamic State continue to receive monthly the pension allowance that the Egyptian State reserves for victims of terrorism and members of the military and security apparatus who fall in the exercise of their work. This allowance has increased considerably over the years, from 1500 to 3555 Egyptian pounds per month. This measure was confirmed by Ms Nevin al Kabbaj, Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity, who is also the Executive Director of the Special Fund created to honor those killed or missing during security operations or as a result of terrorist acts. The retirement allowance - she assured - will be paid to the families of the 20 Egyptian Copts as well as to that of their Ghanaian colleague Luke Najat Anis, who shared the same fate and the same martyrdom as them. The political decision to provide the families of the Coptic martyrs of Libya with a one-time financial contribution of 100,000 Egyptian liras, followed by a monthly pension subsidy of 1,500 liras paid by the Egyptian state, had already matured in 2015. Initially, the family of the Ghanaian martyr had been ruled out due to lack of documents. From now on, the payment of pension benefits to the families of the martyrs of Libya is applied according to the parameters stipulated by Law No. 16 of 2018, which regulates the management of the honorary fund created for the benefit of relatives of victims fallen as a result of military, terrorist and security operations. The 20 Egyptian Copts and their Ghanaian co-worker were kidnapped in Libya in early January 2015. The video of their beheading was posted online by jihadist sites on February 15. The mortal remains of the Copts killed in Libya were identified at the end of September 2017 in a mass grave on the Libyan coast, near the city of Sirte. Their bodies were found with their hands tied behind their backs, dressed in the same orange jumpsuit they wore in the gruesome video filmed by their executioners at the time of their beheading. In the video of their execution, it is clearly seen that many of the martyrs mutter the words "Lord Jesus Christ" as they are savagely slaughtered.
Last year, in a video message sent to the "Day of Contemporary Martyrs" organized by the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the massacre, Pope Francis also recalled that the Coptic martyrs of Libya "died saying: 'Lord Jesus!', confessing the name of Jesus" while they were being slaughtered. Thus - added the Bishop of Rome on that occasion - "they received the greatest gift a Christian can receive: the testimony of Jesus Christ to the point of giving their life". That is why now "they are our Saints, Saints of all Christians, Saints of all Christian confessions and traditions. They are those who whitened their life in the blood of the Lamb", while they were part "of the people of God, the faithful people of God". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 12/3/2022)