Their loved ones died on a Libyan beach, beheaded by Islamic State militants as cameras recorded their agony for a 2015 propaganda video.
Some of the Coptic Christians died repeating these words: "Lord, Jesus Christ." An ISIS leader in a ski mask, in turn, offered this warning: "We will conquer Rome with Allah's permission."
During the recent World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, relatives of these modern martyrs stood to receive the applause of participants, who came from 136 nations -- including the ravaged lands of the Middle East and Africa.
"Today our Christian brothers and sisters across the world are facing persecution and martyrdom on an unprecedented scale," said the Rev. Franklin Graham, who hosted the event for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "No part of the Christian family is exempt -- Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox -- nor is any part of the world exempt."
There were other poignant moments, including an Iranian woman ringing a memorial bell for the dead, including her father who was hanged for converting to Christianity. Summit speakers represented the global church, including remarks by Archbishop Christophe Louis Yves Georges Pierre, the U.S. ambassador for Pope Francis, and a major address by Metropolitan Hilarion, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church's ecumenical office.
But this meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and led by the always outspoken Franklin Graham -- who called the persecution of Christians "genocide." Also, an address by Vice President Mike Pence guaranteed some mainstream news coverage, as well as a hot spotlight on the U.S. political implications of his remarks.
Thus, a Huffington Post news report claimed: "Pence reiterated a common belief among conservative Christians in the U.S. that they are among the most persecuted people of faith in the world."
While the vice president alluded to trends in the United States, he made it clear that his primary worries and prayers about persecution were global.