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October 5, 2015

Holy Martyrs of Libya

The Holy Martyrs of Libya, icon by Nikola Sarić

Nikola Sarić (b. 1985), is a Serbian artist who currently lives in Hannover, Germany. He is specialised in Christian art, having been influenced by Greco-Roman and Byzantine art.

One of his interesting works of art is Holy Martyrs of Libya – the 20 Coptic martyrs and their companion, the African martyr (Matthew Arayiga), who gave his life at the same time, in February 2015, at Sirte, Libya, having been beheaded at the Mediterranean beach by the Islamic terrorists of ISIS. Our Coptic Church has added their names to the Coptic Synaxarium and celebrates their martyrdom on 15 February.

The icon by Nikola Sarić is 100×70 cm, and is aquarelle[1] on paper. It was displayed in the “Earthly Stories with Heavenly Meanings” exhibition (27th August – 18th October 2015) at Brenkhausen Monastry in Höxter-Brenkhausen, Germany. This Medieval monastery was obtained in 1994 by the Coptic Church, and is now the monastery of the Virgin St. Mary, and is the Coptic bishop seat.

The artist says that he plans to sell it and to support the bereaved families of the martyrs (Here is how to contact him).

About the martyrs, the artist says: “The Holy Martyrs of Libya are 21 Christians, who were murdered by IS (ISIS) terrorists in February 2015. They declined to renounce their faith though threatened with death for 40 days. The Coptic Orthodox church acknowledged them new martyrs.”[2]

On this beautiful icon, the New Liturgical Movement wrote: “Notice how the waves of the sea stained with the martyrs’ blood are shown around the edge of the image; Matthew Arayiga is distinct among the group on the top right. The men were killed wearing orange prisoners’ jumpsuits; all them are looking at Christ except for the one at the bottom, who is looking out at us.”

[1] A style of painting using thin, typically transparent, watercolours.

[2] I have made a small correction in the text which I think was incorrect, having most probably been translated from Serbian.

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