MARTYRS of the Past: Mary Khoury


Lebannon, 1991—Mary Khoury was 17 when Damour, her village in Lebanon, was raided by Muslim fanatics who were bent on converting everyone to Islam by force. She and her parents were given one choice: “If you do not become a Muslim you will be shot.”

Mary knew Jesus had been given a similar choice: Give up His profession of being the Son of God and the Savior of the world, or be crucified. He chose the Cross. So she replied, “I was baptized as a Christian and His word came to me: ‘Don’t deny your faith.’ I will obey Him. Go ahead and shoot.” A Muslim who had just killed her father and mother shot her and left her for dead.

Two days later the Red Cross came into her village. They found Mary and her family where they had been shot – she was the only one alive. But she was now paralyzed; the bullet had severed her spinal cord. Her paralyzed arms were extended and bent at the elbows, reminiscent of Christ at His crucifixion.

At first Mary was depressed, not knowing what she could now do. Then the Lord spoke to her and she knew what she must do with her paralyzed life. “Everyone has a vocation,” she said. “I can never marry or do any physical work. So I will offer my life to the Muslims, like the one who cut my father’s throat, stabbed my mother while cursing her, and tried to kill me. My life will be a prayer for them.”

—From “The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” by John Foxe, rewritten and updated by Harold J. Chadwick


  1. thank you for this story. It has touched my heart. I read this in another publication and want to become stronger in the face of any opposition. CK

  2. You know, in the 1985 Miss World contest, Miss Lebanon was named Mary Khoury. Interesting “coincidence.”

    See, this is an updated version of the “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs: Actes and Monuments of these Latter and Perillous Days, Touching Matters of the Church” (a later subtitle was given as “A History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Triumphant Deaths of the Early Christian and the Protestant Martyrs”), first published in 1563. And as such, it suffers from a minor problem – lack of historical accuracy.

    I’m not saying that people have never been killed for Christianity, but with limited documentation available, reality became a little… fungible back then, and stories might sometimes be altered slightly to fit the tale people were trying to tell.

    Ever since the first edition, the stories presented were always slanted in the direction of the author’s own viewpoint, with phrases like “Mark the apish pageants of these popelings” tossed in (yeah, no bias there…). It’s generally considered accurate, but surprisingly hard to verify, and a number of inaccuracies and inconsistencies have always been scattered through the various versions.

    The original version was also a significant source of anti-Catholic sentiment, since a lot of the deaths were due to the fascinating overreach by the Catholic Church before and during the Reformation; they also point out that a number of the “martyrdoms” under Mary I (“Bloody Mary”) were actually killed for political reasons – they were plotting to get Mary off the throne. And the bias and the unverifiable stories have continued in every version up to the present.

  3. A very humbling article Steve. Thanks for posting.

  4. This story is totally baseless to be believed, if she was martyred during the civil war, I will understand, as thousands were killed from all the Lebanese sects. A country with Christian majority in a Christian neighbourhood, have mercy on your readers Sanchez.

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