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Coptic Bishop Urges Forgiveness and Prayers for ISIS Murderers of Christians in Libya

(REUTERS)Islamic State militants stand behind Ethiopian Christians in Wilayat Fazzan, Libya, in this still image from an undated video made available on a social media website on April 19, 2015.

A leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church urged Christians to "forgive and pray" for the Islamic State militants who recently shot and chopped off the heads of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, issued the appeal on Monday after receiving confirmation of the latest atrocity perpetrated by the ISIS.

"As Christians, we remain committed to our initial instinct following the murder of our 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," Bishop Angaelos said.

"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.

The bishop said such killings "unnecessarily" claim the lives of the innocent who do not deserve such brutality.

"Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their faith," he said.

The Coptic bishop warned that heinous acts inflicted upon Christians may create "greater desensitization" to those behind the executions.

"Acts such as these do not only cause insurmountable pain to so many around the world, especially the families and communities of the victims, but can also create an even greater desensitization in those perpetrating them to the suffering and pain which they cause," he said. "The will of God, Who created us in His own Image and likeness, can most certainly not be that we feel each other's pain less or become desensitized to each other's suffering."

Despite the grief that the carnage has brought, the bishop said he is thankful that the "ghastly nature of these crimes" only brought upon it "greater rejection of them, and of any ideology that sanctions, justifies or glorifies brutality and murder."

The bishop also prayed for the souls of the "Coptic martyrs in Libya" and asked for strength to be given to those who suffer because of the killings.

"Having seen the courageous response of the families of the Coptic martyrs in Libya, we pray similar strength, courage and peace for all those suffering as a result of this brutal act, reassured that their loved ones will never be forgotten, having died as true martyrs and paying the ultimate price, hearing the joyful promise 'Well done, good and faithful servant...enter into the joy of your Lord,'" Bishop Angaelos said.

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