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Pope Francis Condemns Apparent Beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Strong 'Off-the-Cuff' Remarks

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"The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out be heard."

Pope Francis listens to a speech during a special audience he held for members of the FOCSIV Italian Catholic volunteers, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

Pope Francis reacted strongly to a video released Sunday that appeared to show the mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, lamenting that these individuals were assassinated "simply for the fact that they were Christians."

The pontiff, who reportedly departed from a script that focused on Christian unity, made these comments on Monday while speaking to members of the Church of Scotland, according to Reuters.

Pope Francis listens to a speech during a special audience he held for members of the FOCSIV Italian Catholic volunteers, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) Pope Francis listens to a speech during a special audience he held for members of the FOCSIV Italian Catholic volunteers, at the Vatican, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

"Their only words were: 'Jesus, help me!' They were killed simply for the fact that they were Christians," he said. "The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out be heard."

Pope Francis, who said that it made no difference whether the victims were Copts, Orthodox, Catholics or Protestants, added that, "the martyrs belong to all Christians."

"Their blood is one and the same," he said, according to Vatican Radio. "Their blood confesses Christ.''

His comments were described by the Associated Press as being "off-the-cuff," as he encouraged Christians to remember the lives of those lost.

Watch his words below:

(H/T: Reuters)

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