15 May 2011
“Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better,” (Phillippians1: 23) was the utmost desire of all the saints who were martyred in the name of Christ.
Major among them was Mar-Marqos (St Mark), the first Christian martyr in Egypt, and the founder of its Church, whose martyrdom in Alexandria in 68AD is commemorated by the Coptic Orthodox Church on 30 Baramouda (8 May) every year.
St Mark’s Day this year coincided with the funeral of those who lost their lives in Imbaba, the victims of the heinous attack against the Copts by Salafis.
Throughout the ages, the blood of the martyrs was shed for the love of God and His teachings, a cheap price for keeping the good faith. The Coptic Church in particular was built on the blood of thousands upon thousands of martyrs. In the recent years, 19 Copts were killed in al-Kosheh in 2000, seven in Nag Hammadi on Coptic Christmas Eve (7 January) 2010, 23 in Alexandria on New Year Eve 2011 and—most recently—the eight of Imbaba last weekend.