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Holy See

Coptic Archbishop Angaelos: Martyrs are not ‘Victims’ but ‘Witnesses’

Christian martyrs killed in odium fidei are not “victims” but “witnesses”, and media must take seriously the responsibility they have in reporting persecution because a headline just for a few extra subscriptions can sometimes put lives at risk.

These are the key criteria recently mentioned by Anba Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, as a contribution of clarity offered above all to those engaged in information and awareness-raising initiatives for the benefit of Christian communities subjected to bullying, violence, and persecution worldwide. The Archbishop included such eloquent considerations in his speech on July 4, 2019, in London, at St Margaret’s Church in Westminster Abbey, on the occasion of the annual conference hosted by Embrace the Middle East an inter-denominational Christian charity, a committed Christian organization supporting projects and initiatives in favor of vulnerable people and communities in the Middle East. Fides News Agency reported on July 9, 2019.

“When we advocate, it must be about them [the martyrs] and their suffering, not us. We must not patronize the communities there. Let us not export our own visions of who they must be, but honor who they are. We need to listen to them. Labeling martyrs as victims dishonors what they are doing. They don’t see themselves as victims, but witnesses. We should recognize their vulnerability, but vulnerability is different from victimhood,” the Coptic Archbishop said.

Anba Angaelos challenged media to be responsible in their reporting of persecution, saying: “We are all completely fed by the media. It is important for the media to be responsible in how they report persecution”.

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