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Archbishop: Christians must resist persecution without violence

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral. Credit: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire/PA Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Christians to resist persecution without resorting to violence in his Easter Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral.

The Most Rev Justin Welby also called on Christians to support persecuted communities, with love and goodness and generosity.

Speaking about the recent attack in Kenya the Archbishop described the victims as "martyrs".

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.

These 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.

– Archbishop of Canterbury
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