CAIRO (RNS) – As a little boy in Sunday school, Bassem Al-Janoubie was fascinated by the illustrated stories about the martyrs of Egypt’s Coptic Church.

“Even more than cartoon comic books, the dramatic events and details of the ordeal of each saint held my attention,” remembers the now-40-year-old graphic designer. “They were like superheroes – not accepting attempts to change their beliefs or efforts to get them to deny their Christianity despite torture and even death.”

The 2,000-year-old Coptic Church of Egypt has a long tradition of hallowing those who died affirming their faith in the face of violence.

But the

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