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‘Pray for and forgive ISIS killers,’ says Coptic bishop

Bishop Angaelos, general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK (CNS)

ISIS terrorists responsible for murdering Christians should be “prayed for and forgiven,” according to Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK.

Bishop Angaelos made his comments in a statement released after ISIS posted a video to the internet depicting the slaughter of Christians in Libya, showing footage of two massacres in which 30 Ethiopian Christians were killed.

“As people of faith and none who respect humanity and life, we must continue to speak out against such appalling and senseless violence,” he said.

“As Christians, we remain committed to our initial instinct following the murder of our 21 Coptic brothers in Libya, that it is not only for our own good, but indeed our duty to ourselves, the world, and even those who see themselves as our enemies, to forgive and pray for the perpetrators of this and similar crimes. We pray for these men and women, self-confessed religious people, that they may be reminded of the sacred and precious nature of every life created by God.”

He added: “We pray repose for the souls of these innocent men, a change of heart for those who took their lives, but above all we pray comfort and strength for their families and communities, and the many around the world who may not have known them, yet are left to mourn such a tragic and unnecessary loss of precious life.”

In February a similar video was released by ISIS showing the slaughter of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt.

“The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by (ISIS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness,” the bishop’s statement continued.

“These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their Faith.”

“The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs.”