Matthew Ayariga, believed to be a Ghanaian from the Upper East of Ghana, is set to become a Saint of both the Coptic Church Orthodox and the Catholic Church.
Matthew Ayariga has already been martyred by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt and has been in principle accepted as a candidate for sainthood by the Catholic church was among 21 construction workers who were murdered by the Islamic State on February 15, 2015.
Matthew Ayariga was decapitated, as was his 20 colleague construction workers in Libya by Islamic State militants on a beach in Libya. The Coptic Orthodox Church, under the leadership of Pope Tawadros II, swiftly undertook all the processes that led to their canonization as martyrs even though it was not certain whether or not Matthew Ayariga was a Coptic Christian like his colleagues.
The martyrs, Pope Francis had declared will “be included in the Roman Martyrology as a sign of the spiritual communion uniting our two Churches,” according to a report by The Pillar.
Matthew Ayariga is widely accepted as a migrant from Northern Ghana who was en route to Europe through Libya but whose ambition was cut short by Islamic State militants who abducted him and 20 others from a construction site and brutally murdered him at the height of their terrorist activities in 2015.
While details of him remain sketchy, Matthew Ayariga, according to credible estimates was born in the late 80s or early 90s in Northern Ghana to Christian parents. Having acquired some skills in construction, he reportedly left Ghana to seek greener pastures in Europe via Libya.
As fate would have it, he got engaged by a company in the Libyan town of Sirte, a bustling port town and was doing his work with some Coptic Orthodox Christians from Egypt when the Islamic State militants struck.
The heartrending video of Matthew Ayariga and the 20 others being executed at a beach went viral in both mainstream and social media in 2015. The Islamic State had described all of them as Coptic Orthodox Church Christians even though it is unlikely Matthew Ayariga was a proper Coptic Orthodox Christian at the time of the murder. Matthew Ayariga had refused to renounce his Christian faith and was not spared.
After some initial hitches, Matthew Ayariga was buried with 20 others in Egypt by the Coptic Orthodox Church and is regarded as a martyr of the Church.