A church commemorating the beheading of 20 Coptic Christians and one Ghanaian by the Islamic State in Libya has finally received the go-ahead by government authorities, seven months after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi ordered its construction.

Coptic newspaper Watani quoted local priest Fr. Maqar Eissa saying that all building and administrative procedures have been successfully completed.

Named ‘Martyrs of the Faith and Homeland’, the church has been given a 10 million Egyptian Pounds grant by the Armed Forces, to be built on 1,400 square metres.

Featuring the iconic Coptic dome and belfry, the church is to be erected in the village of al-Our in Minya, 240km south of Cairo. An earlier site chosen for the church in the home village of 13 of the 20 Coptic martyrs had to be abandoned after local opposition by angry Muslims throwing stones and chanting anti-Christian slogans.

The new church will pay tribute to the 21 Christians killed by Islamic State militants in Libya this past February for refusing to renounce their Christian faith.

Fr. Eissa noted that currently the al-Our village boasts three mosques but has only one small church, “hardly accommodating a fraction of the congregation,” he said. He pointed out that the local population was split evenly between Muslims and Christians.