Coptic Christianity is a form of Christianity that originated from Egypt in the city of Alexandria. The word Coptic means Egypt, hence Coptic Christianity means Egyptian Christianity. They regard John Mark, the writer of the book of Mark in the Bible as the founder and 1st Bishop of the church in around 42 CE. The Pope of Alexandria is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Copts in Egypt speak Egyptian Arabic and Egyptian Coptic languages. The Coptic Church belongs to the Oriental Orthodox group of churches that has been separate and distinct Christian schism after the Council of Chalcedon in 451 CE at the time when it took a divergent view on Christology from all other Christian churches which would later after about 600 years split into Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church.
Countries With the Largest Coptic Christian Populations
Coptic Christianity Population in Egypt
Since the church originated in Egypt, the Coptic Church has a high number of followers in Egypt accounting for 10% to 15% of the general public. Between the 11th and 14th centuries, the dominant religion was the Coptic Christianity in Egypt, but after the Muslim Conquest, most of these Christians converted to Islam. Currently, there are 13 million followers of Coptic Christians in Egypt alone. There are three main branches of the church in Egypt, and these are the Coptic Orthodox Church, Coptic Evangelical Church, and Coptic Protestant Church. Their population makes up 97% of total Copts in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
Coptic Christianity Population in Sudan and Libya
The Egypt Coptic Christians include members in Sudan and Libya, where they are the minority Christians in the two countries. Copts in Sudan live on the northern side of the country and have a population of 500,000 believers. They have always faced difficult challenges such as forced conversion to Islam and torture and persecution under different Islamic rulers. Their population makes 3.7 percent of the Coptic population in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya. In Libya, the Coptic population has 60,000 followers and are members of the Coptic Orthodox church with their history dating back to Arab Conquest in the country. They have three churches in Libya, which are located in Tripoli, Benghazi, and Misrata. They make up 0.4% of the total population of Copts in Egypt, Sudan, and Libya.
Coptic Christianity Population in Diaspora
In Diaspora, the population of the religion increased due to the increase of followers migrating from Egypt in the 1950s due to consistent persecution in Egypt which was affecting their survival. The total population of Coptic in the diaspora is 1,243,000.
United States, Canada, and Kuwait have the highest Coptic diaspora population in the world. The United States has the highest Coptic believers with 1,000,000 followers this is 80% of all the Copts in Diaspora. Australia, Italy and the United Arab Emirates have followers ranging between 32,000 and 10,000, making a total of 4.44% of Coptic followers in Diaspora. Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have Coptic populations of less than 10,000 each and make 1.60% of the total population of Copts in Diaspora.
Persecution of Copts
The main challenges that the Coptic Christians faced in Egypt include being targeted by Islamic extremists for hate, crimes which have led to murdered, attacks on the Church buildings by the Muslims and many government restrictions on the Coptic Church functions.