Pope Francis made a telephone call to the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II to express condolences for the murder of Coptic Christians by militants of the Islamic State.
On Sunday, the Islamic State released a video entitled, “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nations of the Cross”, where they beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians on a beach near Tripoli in Libya.
A statement was released by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, which said that the Holy Father expressed to the Coptic Pope “his profound sympathy in the pain of the Coptic Church for the recent barbaric murder of Coptic Christians by Islamic fundamentalists.”
“[Pope Francis] assured his prayers and also tomorrow, the day of the funeral celebrations of the victims, will unite spiritually to the prayers and the sorrow of the Coptic Church, in the celebration of the morning Eucharist,” the statement read.
Earlier today, during an audience with representatives of the Church of Scotland, the Holy Father departed from his prepared remarks and denounced the murder of the 21 men, saying they were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians.
“The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard. It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants. They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same,” he said.