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Kenya victims hailed as 'martyrs'

Published 05/04/2015

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers his sermon during the Easter Day service at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby delivers his sermon during the Easter Day service at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent

The 150 Kenyans who were killed three days ago are martyrs, the Archbishop of Canterbury said today.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the cruel are overcome, evil is defeated, and martyrs conquer, the Most Rev Justin Welby said in his Easter Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral.

The Archbishop said Christians must resist without violence the persecution they suffer and support persecuted communities, with love and goodness and generosity.

And he said: "To witness is to be a martyr. I am told by the Coptic Bishop in England that the Coptic Christians murdered in Libya last month died proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord. They are martyrs, a word that means both one that dies for their faith and one that witnesses to faith.

"There have been so many martyrs in the last year. On Maundy Thursday, three days ago, around 150 Kenyans were killed because of being Christian. They are witnesses, unwilling, unjustly, wickedly, and they are martyrs in both senses of the word."

He added: "T hese martyrs too are caught up in the resurrection: their cruel deaths, the brutality of their persecution, their persecution is overcome by Christ himself at their side because they share his suffering, at their side because he rose from the dead. Because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead the cruel are overcome, evil is defeated, martyrs conquer."

Islamic extremists attacked Garissa university in Kenya on Thursday in an attack that killed 148 people. Somalia's al-Shabab Islamic militants claimed responsibility.

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