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Arab Christians
This article is about Arabs of the Christian faith. For Christian communities and sects (including non-Arab Christians), see Christianity in the Middle East.
It has been suggested that History of Arab Christians be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since March 2021.
Arab Christians (Arabic: ﺍﻟﻤﺴﻴﺤﻴﻮﻥ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺏ‎‎ al-Masīḥiyyūn al-ʿArab) are Christians who identify as Arabs. The largest group who self-identify as such are Antiochian Greek Christians, who are estimated to number between 520,000​[1]​–703,000​[10] in Syria, 350,000[1] in Lebanon, 221,000 in Jordan,[2] 133,130 in Israel and 50,000 in the State of Palestine. There are also Arab Christian communities of 10,000[6]–350,000[1] in Egypt, as well as in Iraq and Turkey.
Arab Christians
اﻟﻤﺴﻴﺤﻴﻮﻥ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺏ


Arabic icon of John of Damascus
(surrounded by the words of his hymn)
Regions with significant populations
 Syria
520,000[1]–703,000[a]
excluding Maronites
 Lebanon
350,000[1]
excluding 1 million Maronites
 Jordan221,000[2]
 Israel
133,130[3]
excluding Copts and Maronites
Palestine38,000[4]–50,000[5]
excluding disputed territories
 Iraq
10,000[1]
 Egypt
10,000[6]–350,000[1][a]
excluding 9-15 million Copts
 Turkey
18,000[7]
including Antiochian Greeks
 Morocco
8,000 [8]–40,000.[9]
including Berbers
Languages
Arabic, Hebrew (within Israel), French (within Lebanon and diaspora), English, Spanish and Portuguese (diaspora)
Religion
Christianity:
Roman Catholic
(Eastern, various rites and jurisdictions; Latin)
Eastern Orthodox
(Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria)
Protestant
[a].^ prior to Syrian civil war
Arab Christians have significantly influenced and contributed to the Arabic culture in many fields both historically and in modern times,[11] including literature,[11] politics,[11] business,​[11]​philosophy​,​[12] music, theatre and cinema,[13] medicine,[14] and science.[15] Emigrants from Arab Christian communities make up a significant proportion of the Middle Eastern diaspora, with sizable population concentrations across the Americas, most notably in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and the US, however those emigrants in the Americas, especially from the first wave of emigration, have often not passed the Arabic language to their descendants.[16]
Arab Christians are not the only Christian group in the Middle East, with significant Arabic-speaking Christian communities of Assyrians, Armenians, and others, who do not identify as Arab. Although sometimes classified as "Arab Christians", the large Middle Eastern Christian groups of Maronites and Copts often claim a non-Arab identity.[17]
History
Philip the Arab (204–249) is reputed to be the first Christian Roman Emperor, and was born in Aurantis, Arabia (modern day Shahba, Syria)
Abgar V of Osroene, one of the first Christian kings in history, belonged to the Nabataean Arab Abgarid dynasty
The history of Arab Christians coincides with the history of Christianity, from the earliest adoption of Christianity by Arab tribes and consequent Arabized communities during the time of the Late Roman Empire to Arab societies today.
Classic antiquity
See also: Roman–Persian Wars, Byzantine Empire, and Early Christianity
Arab Christians are the indigenous Christian communities of Western Asia who became majority Arabic-speaking after the consequent seventh-century Muslim conquests in the Fertile Crescent.[18] The Christian Arab presence predates the early Muslim conquests and there were many Arab tribes which adhered to Christianity beginning in the 1st century.[19] The New Testament has a biblical account of Arab conversion to Christianity recorded in the book of Acts. When Saint Peter preaches to the people of Jerusalem, they ask,
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
[...] Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:8, 11 KJV)
One of the first kings to adopt Christianity was Abgar V, "king of the Arabs", of the first century Abgarid dynasty in Osroene. The first mention of Christianity in Arabia occurs in the New Testament as the Apostle Paul references his journey to Arabia following his conversion (Galatians 1: 15–17). Later, Eusebius discusses a bishop named Beryllus in the see of Bostra, the site of a synod c. 240 and two Councils of Arabia.[20] Scholars suggest that Philip the Arab was the first Christian emperor of Rome (244 to 249).[20]
King of the Ghassanids, Al-Ḥārith V ibn Jabalah (528–569) in his tent. Harith was a Miaphysite Christian and rejected the Council of Chalcedon
The first Arab tribes to adopt Christianity included the Nabataeans, Tanukhids and Ghassanids. The Nabataeans were among the first Arab tribes to arrive in the southern Levant in the late first millennium BC. The Nabataeans initially adopted pagan beliefs, but they became Christians by the time of the Byzantine period around the 4th century.[21] Their lands were divided between the new Qahtanite Arab tribal kingdoms of the Byzantine vassals, the Ghassanids, the Himyarite Kingdom and the Kindah in North Arabia. During the fifth and sixth centuries, the Tanukhids and then Ghassanids, who at first adopted monophysitism, formed one of the most powerful confederations allied to Christian Byzantium, being a buffer against the pagan tribes of Arabia. One of the queens of the Tanukhid federation, Mavia, led a revolt against Rome to have and Arab bishop named Moses (Musa) represent her people in Alexandria. The last king of the Lakhmids, al-Nu'man III ibn al-Mundhir, a client of the Sasanian Empire in the late sixth century, converted to Christianity (in this case, to the Nestorian sect which was favored by the native Christians of al-Hira).[22]
By the fourth century, a significant number of Christians occupied the Sinai Peninsula, Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula. History also records the coming of Christian influence from Ethiopia to Arab lands in pre-Islamic times. Some Hejazis, including a cousin of Muhammad's wife Khadija bint Khuwaylid, may have adopted the religion, whilst some Ethiopian Christians may have lived in Mecca.[23] The southern Arabian city of Najran (in modern day Saudi Arabia) was made famous by the religious persecution by one of the kings of Yemen, Dhu Nuwas, who himself was an enthusiastic convert to Judaism. The leader of the Arabs of Najran during the period, al-Ḥārith, was canonized by the Catholic Church as Arethas. Aretas was the leader of the Christian community of Najran in the early 6th century and was executed during the massacre of Christians by the Jewish king in 523.[24]
Islamic era
See also: Ottoman Empire, Caliphate, and Muslim conquest of the Levant
Bashir Shihab II (1767–1850) was a Lebanese emir and the only Christian ruler of the Emirate of Mount Lebanon
Following the fall of large portions of former Byzantine and Sasanian provinces to the Arab armies, a large indigenous Christian population of varying ethnicities came under Arab Muslim dominance. Historically, a number of minority Christian sects were persecuted as heretic under Byzantine rule (such as non-Chalcedonians). The Islamic conquests set forth two processes affecting these Christian communities: the process of Arabization, causing them gradually to adopt Arabic as a spoken, literary, and liturgical language (often alongside their ancestral tongues, Maronites use Aramaic for example) and the much slower, yet persistent process of Islamization.[25] As Muslim army commanders expanded their empire and attacked countries in Asia, North Africa and southern Europe, they would offer three conditions to their enemies: convert to Islam, or pay jizya (tax) every year, or face war to death. Those who refused war and refused to convert were deemed to have agreed to pay jizya.[26][27]
As "People of the Book", Christians in the region were accorded certain rights under Islamic law to practice their religion (including having Christian law used for rulings, settlements or sentences in court). In contrast to Muslims, who paid the zakat tax, they paid the jizya, an obligatory tax. The jizya was not levied on slaves, women, children, monks, the old, the sick, hermits, or the poor.[28] In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, to be exempted from military service and the zakat.[29][30] Like Arab Muslims, Arab Christians refer to God as Allah, as an Arabic word for "God".[31] The use of the term Allah in Arab Christian churches predates Islam by several centuries.[31]
The Christian al-Chemor family ruled two sheikhdoms in Lebanon during the Ottoman Empire, Koura from 1211 to 1633 AD, and the Zawyia region of Zgharta from 1641 to 1747 AD. Its lineage traces from King Abu Chemor, a Christian Ghassanid who gave his name to the family.[32]
Modern era
Lebanese singer Fairuz is the best selling Arab artist of all time, with over 150 million records sold worldwide[33]
Scholars and intellectuals including Palestinian-American Edward Said affirm that Christians in the Arab world have made significant contributions to the Arab civilization since the introduction of Islam.[11] The top poets in history were Arab Christians, and many Arab Christians are physicians, philosophers, government officials and people of literature. Arab Christians traditionally formed the educated upper class and they have had a significant impact in the culture of the Mashriq.[34][35] Arab Christians have always the go-between the Islamic world and the Christian West, mainly down to mutual religious affinity. The Greek Orthodox share Orthodox ties with Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Cyprus and Greece; whilst Melkites and Maronites share Catholic bonds with Italy, Vatican and France.[35] In Lebanon, Maronites and Melkites looked to France and the Mediterranean world, whereas most Muslims and Orthodox Christians looked to the Arab hinterland as their political lodestar.[36][37]
Antoun Saadeh (1904–1949) philosopher and founder of the SSNP– the second biggest political party in Syria today[38]
George Wassouf is a successful Syrian singer, selling over 60 million records[39]
Many prominent Arab nationalists were Christians, like the Syrian intellectual Constantin Zureiq,[40] Ba'athism proponent Michel Aflaq[41] and Jurji Zaydan,[42] who was reputed to be the first Arab nationalist. Khalil al-Sakakini, a prominent Palestinian Jerusalemite, was Arab Orthodox; as was George Antonius, Lebanese author of The Arab Awakening.[43][44] The first Syrian nationalists were also Christian. Antoun Saadeh was the founder behind the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and Butrus al-Bustani is considered to be the first Syrian nationalist. Sa'adeh rejected Pan-Arabism and argued instead for the creation of a United Syrian Nation or Natural Syria. Influential Palestinian Christians such as Tawfik Toubi, Emile Touma and Emile Habibi became leaders of the Israeli and Palestinian communist party.[45] George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine was a Christian; as was Wadie Haddad, the leader of the PFLP's armed wing.
Lebanese Melkite Saleem Takla and his brother Beshara founded the Al-Ahram newspaper in 1875 in Egypt and it is now the most widely circulated Egyptian daily newspaper.[46] Similary, the Lebanese Greek Orthodox Tueni family, one of the seven aristocratic Greek Orthodox families of Beirut, founded the An-Nahar newspaper in Lebanon, the leading Lebanese daily.[47][48] Palestinian Christian Najib Nassar's newspaper Al-Karmil was the first pro-Palestinian anti-Zionist weekly newspaper. It appeared in Haifa in 1908 and was shut down by the British in the 1940s.[49] Iraqi Christian writer and Arab linguist Anastas Al-Karmali from Baghdad discovered the lost text of the first Arabic dictionary, Kitab al-'Ayn, and founded the philology journal Lughat Al-'Arab (Arab Language).[50] Jordanian Christian Suleiman Mousa was the only Arab author to write about Lawrence of Arabia and show the Arab perspective.[51]
Arab Christians flourish in the Arab music industry. Notable Lebanese singers include Lydia Canaan, Fares Karam, Maya Diab, Majida El Roumi, Cyrine Abdelnour, Nancy Ajram, Fairuz, Julia Boutros, Wael Kfoury, and Maronites Sabah, Elissa and Najwa Karam.[52][53] Syrian notables include Mayada El Hennawy, Nassif Zeytoun and George Wassouf.[54][55] Jordanians include Toni Qattan. Palestinians include Fadee Andrawos, Lina Makhul and Mira Awad (Palestinian-Israeli singer of Arab Christian descent).[56][57]
Role in al-Nahda
See also: Women's literary salons and societies in the Arab world
Nasif al-Yaziji (1800–1871) was a Lebanese author, poet and key figure of the Nahda
Mary Ajami (1888–1965) was a Syrian writer and feminist who launched the first women's newspaper in the Middle East[58]
May Ziadeh (1886–1941) was a Lebanese-Palestinian poet and pioneer of Oriental feminism
The Nahda (meaning "the Awakening" or "the Renaissance") was a cultural renaissance that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it began in the wake of the exit of Muhammad Ali of Egypt from the Levant in 1840.[59] Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Aleppo were the main centers of the renaissance and this led to the establishment of schools, universities, theater and printing presses. It also led to the renewal of literary, linguistic and poetic distinctiveness. The emergence of a politically active movement known as the "association" was accompanied by the birth of the idea of Arab nationalism and the demand for the reformation of the Ottoman Empire. The emergence of the idea of Arab independence and reformation led to the calling of the establishment of modern states based on the European-style.[60]
It was during this stage that the first compound of the Arabic language was introduced along with the printing of it in Arabic letters. This led into the fields of music, sculpture, history and the humanities, as well as economics and human rights. This cultural renaissance during the late Ottoman rule was a quantum leap for Arabs in the post-industrial revolution, and is not limited to the individual fields of cultural renaissance in the nineteenth century, as the Nahda movement only extended to include the spectrum of society and the fields as a whole. It is agreed amongst historians the importance of the roles played by the Arab Christians in this renaissance, and their role in the prosperity of the diaspora also.[61][11]
Because Arab Christians formed the educated class, they had a significant impact on the politics and culture of the Arab World.[34] Christian colleges like Saint Joseph University and American University of Beirut (Syrian Protestant College until 1920) thrived in Lebanon, Al-Hikma University in Baghdad amongst others played leading role in the development of civilization and Arab culture.[62] Given this role in politics and culture, Ottoman ministers began to include them in their governments. In the economic sphere, a number of Christian families like Sursock became prominent. Thus, the Nahda led the Muslims and Christians to a cultural renaissance and national general despotism. This solidified Arab Christians as one of the pillars of the region and not a minority on the fringes.[63]
Religious persecution
See also: Persecution of Christians
The Massacre of Aleppo of 1850 often referred to simply as The Events was a riot perpetrated by Muslim residents of Aleppo, largely from the eastern quarters of the city, against Christian residents, largely located in the northern suburbs of the predominantly Christian neighbourhood Judayde (Jdeideh) and Salibeh. The Events are considered by historians to be particularly important in Aleppian history, for they represent the first time disturbances pitted Muslims against Christians in the region. The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church Peter VII Jarweh was fatally wounded in the attacks and died a year later. 20-70 people died from rioting and 5,000 died as a result of bombardment.[64]
The aftermath of the 1860 Mount Lebanon civil war spillover into Damascus
1860 Mount Lebanon civil war / 1860 Damascus massacre was a civil conflict in Mount Lebanon during Ottoman rule in 1860-1861 fought mainly between the local Druze and Maronite Christians. Following decisive Druze victories and massacres against the Christians, the conflict spilled over into other parts of Ottoman Syria, particularly Damascus, where thousands of Christian residents were killed by Muslim and Druze militiamen. With the connivance of the military authorities and Turkish soldiers, Druze and Sunni Muslim paramilitary groups organised pogroms in Damascus which lasted three days (9-11 July).[65] By the war's end, around 20,000 people, mainly Catholic Christians, had been killed in Mount Lebanon and Damascus, and 380 Christian villages and 560 churches were destroyed. Missionary schools were set on fire.[66]
Melkite Greek Catholic and Maronite Christians suffered a religiously-motivated Genocide at the hands of the Ottomans and their allies during the Great Famine of Mount Lebanon (1915–1918) during World War I, which ran in conjunction with the Assyrian genocide, the Armenian Genocide and the Greek genocide. The Mount Lebanon famine caused the highest fatality rate by population during World War I.[67] Around 200,000 people starved to death when the population of Mount Lebanon was estimated to be 400,000 people.[68] The Lebanese diaspora in Egypt funded the shipping of food supplies to Mount Lebanon, sent via the Syrian Island town of Arwad.[69] On 26 May 1916, Lebanese-American writer Khalil Gibran wrote a letter[70] to Mary Haskell that read:
"The famine in Mount Lebanon has been planned and instigated by the Turkish government. Already 80,000 have succumbed to starvation and thousands are dying every single day. The same process happened with the Christian Armenians and applied to the Christians in Mount Lebanon."
Significant persecution of Iraqi Christians in Mosul and other areas held by ISIS occurred from 2014 onwards, with Christian houses identified as "N" for "Nasrani" (Christian).[71]
Regional conflicts
See also: List of conflicts in the Near East and List of modern conflicts in the Middle East
During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, a number of Palestinian Arab Greek Orthodox communities were ethnically cleansed and driven out of their towns, including al-Bassa, Ramla, Lod, Safed, Kafr Bir'im, Iqrit, Tarbikha, Eilabun and Haifa. Many Christian towns or neighborhoods were ethnically cleansed and destroyed during the period between 1948 and 1953. All the Christian residents of Safed, Beisan, Tiberias were removed, and a big percentage displaced in Haifa, Jaffa, Lydda and Ramleh.[72] Arab Christian Constantin Zureiq was the first to coin the term "Nakba" in reference to the 1948 Palestinian exodus.[73]
A picture of a building in Beirut that was partially destroyed during the Lebanese Civil War. The building was still intact at the time the photo, 2004
In 1975, the Lebanese Civil War occurred between two broad camps, the mainly Christian 'rightist' Lebanese Front consisting of Maronite and Melkites, and the mainly Muslim and Arab nationalist 'leftist' National Movement, supported by the Druze, Greek Orthodox and the Palestinian community. The war was characterized by the kidnap, rape and massacre of those caught in the wrong place as each side eliminated 'enemy' enclaves - mainly Christian or Muslim low-income areas.[74] In 1982 Israel invaded Lebanon with the aim of destroying the PLO, which it besieged in West Beirut. Israel was later obliged to withdraw as a result of multiple guerrilla attacks by the Lebanese National Resistance Front and increasing hostility across all forces in Lebanon to their presence.[74] Greek Orthodox-born SSNP member Sana'a Mehaidli is believed to be the first recorded female suicide bomber. She is known in Lebanon as the "Bride of the South" and martyred herself in Jezzine during the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon.[75]
With the events of the Arab Spring, the Syrian Arab Christian community was heavily hit in line with other Christian communities of Syria, being victimized by the war and specifically targeted as a minority by Jihadist forces. Many Christians, including Arab Christians, were displaced or fled Syria over the course of the Syrian Civil War, however the majority stayed and continue to fight with the Syrian Armed Forces and the allied Eagles of the Whirlwind (armed wing of the SSNP) against insurgents today.[76][77] When the conflict in Syria began, it was reported that Christians were cautious and avoided taking sides, but that due to the increased violence in Syria and ISIL's growth, Arab Christians have shown support for Assad, fearing that if Assad is overthrown, they will be targeted. Christians support the Assad regime based on fear that the end of the current government could lead to instability. The Carnegie Middle East Center stated that the majority of Christians are more in support of the regime because they fear a chaotic situation or to be under the control of the Islamic Western and Turkish backed armed groups.[78][79]
Diaspora
See also: Arab diaspora and Christian emigration
Millions of people descend from Arab Christians and live in the diaspora, outside the Middle East. They mainly reside in the Americas. There are also many Arab Christians in Europe, Africa and Oceania. Among those, one million Palestinian Christians live in the Palestinian diaspora and 6-7 million Brazilians are estimated to have Lebanese ancestry.[80] Mass Arab immigration started in the 1890s as Lebanese and Syrian people fled the political and economic instability caused by the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. These early immigrants were known as Syro-Lebanese, Lebanese and Palestinian, or Turks.[81] Historical events that caused large Christian emigration include: 1860 civil conflict in Mount Lebanon and Damascus, Iraq War, Nasser reforms in Egypt, Great Famine of Mount Lebanon, Lebanese civil war and the Palestinian exodus.[82][83]
Role in al-Mahjar
See also: The Pen League and Arab American literature
The Mahjar (one of its more literal meanings being "the Arab diaspora") was a literary movement that succeeded the Nahda movement. It was started by Christian Arabic-speaking writers who had emigrated to America from Ottoman-ruled Lebanon, Syria and Palestine at the turn of the 20th century.[84] The writers of the Mahjar movement were stimulated by their personal encounter with the Western world and participated in the renewal of Arabic literature, hence their proponents sometimes referred to as writers of the "late Nahda".[85]
A 1920 photograph of four prominent members of The Pen League (from left to right): Nasib Arida, Kahlil Gibran, Abd al-Masih Haddad, and Mikhail Naimy
The Pen League was the first Arabic-language literary society in North America, formed initially by Syrians Nasib Arida and Abd al-Masih Haddad. Members of the Pen League included: Nasib Arida, Rashid Ayyub, Wadi Bahout, William Catzeflis, Kahlil Gibran, Abd al-Masih Haddad, Nadra Haddad, Elia Abu Madi, Mikhail Naimy, and Ameen Rihani.[86] Eight out of the ten members were Greek Orthodox and two were Maronite Christians.[87] The league dissolved following Gibran's death in 1931 and Mikhail Naimy's return to Lebanon in 1932.[88]
Abraham Mitrie Rihbany was a Lebanese-American Intellectual of the Mahjar. His best-known book, The Syrian Christ (1916), was highly influential in its time in explaining the cultural background to some situations and modes of expression found in the Gospels.[89]
Syro-Lebanese of Egypt
Further information: Syro-Lebanese in Egypt
Since antiquity, there has always been a Levantine presence in Egypt, however they started becoming a distinctive minority in Egypt around the early 18th century. The Syro-Lebanese Christians of Egypt (also known as the Levantines of Egypt) were highly influenced by European culture and established churches, printing houses and businesses across Egypt. Their aggregate wealth was reckoned at one and a half billion francs, 10% of the Egyptian GDP at the end of the 20th century. They took advantage of the Egyptian constitution that established the juridical equality of all citizens and granted the Syro-Lebanese Christians the fullness of civil rights, prior to the Nasser reforms.[90][91] The reason immigrants from Lebanon and Syria were considered one ethnic group was because during the mid-1800s, Lebanon was not an independent state and was still part of Ottoman Syria, or "Bilad al-Sham" in Arabic, hence their label "Shawam" or "Shami".[91]
Notables
Prominent notables in the Americas

Victor G. Atiyeh
(1923–2014)
32nd Governor of Oregon
(Syrian origin)

Nayib Bukele
46th President of El Salvador
(Palestinian origin)

Tony Fadell
Inventor of the iPod, founder of Nest Labs and co-inventor of the iPhone
(Lebanese origin)
Notable diaspora figures in business include the Swiss founder of Swatch Group Nicolas Hayek, Maronite-Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim and French-Brazilian-Lebanese businessman Carlos Ghosn. Carlos Slim was ranked as the richest person in the world by the Forbes business magazine.[92] Figures in entertainment include actors Omar Sharif (Melkite-born), Youssef Chahine, Salma Hayek, Tony Shalhoub and Oscar award winner F. Murray Abraham. Figures in academics include geneticist Joanne Chory, scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb,[93] surgeon Michael DeBakey,[94] inventor of the iPod Tony Fadell,[95] mathematician Michael Atiyah,[96] professor Charles Elachi, intellectual Edward Said, and Nobel Prize winners Elias James Corey[97] and Peter Medawar.[98][99] Other figures include White House reporter Helen Thomas, and politicians Donna Shalala, Mark Esper, Alex Azar, Darrell Issa and Rosemary Barkett.[100][101][102]
The Arab Christian diaspora in the Americas includes prominent politicians. Notables include:
CountryNameTitleCountry of origin
 ArgentinaCarlos Menem44th President of ArgentinaSyria[103]
 BelizeSaid Musa3rd Prime Minister ofBelizePalestine[104]
 Bolivia
Juan Pereda
52nd President of Bolivia
Palestine[105]
Lebanon[106]
 Brazil
Michel Temer37th President of BrazilLebanon[107]
 Colombia
Julio César Turbay Ayala25th President of ColombiaLebanon[108]
 Dominican Republic
Luis Abinader
54th President of the Dominican Republic (current)
47th President of the Dominican Republic
Lebanon[109][110]
 Ecuador
Julio Teodoro Salem
23rd President of Ecuador
38th President of Ecuador
41st President of Ecuador
50th Vice President of Ecuador
Lebanon[111][112]
 El SalvadorNayib Bukele
46th President of El Salvador (current)
43rd President of El Salvador
Palestine[113]
 GuatemalaJorge Serrano Elías29th President of GuatemalaLebanon[114]
 HaitiRobert Malval5th Prime Minister of HaitiLebanon[115]
 HondurasCarlos Roberto Flores Facussé50th President of HondurasPalestine[116]
 JamaicaEdward Seaga5th Prime Minister of JamaicaLebanon[117]
 MexicoJosé Antonio Meade2018 Presidential election candidate (placed third)Lebanon[118]
 Netherlands Antilles
Emily de Jongh-Elhage24th Prime Minister of the Netherlands AntillesLebanon[119]
 ParaguayMario Abdo51st President of Paraguay (current)Lebanon[120]
 Uruguay
Alberto Abdala7th Vice President of UruguayLebanon[121]
 United StatesMitch Daniels
49th Governor of Indiana
82nd Governor of New Hampshire (current)
Syria[122]
Syria[123]
Lebanon[124]
Palestine, Lebanon[125]
Palestine, Lebanon[125]
 Venezuela
Elías Jaua21st Vice President of VenezuelaLebanon[126]
Identity
See also: List of Christian denominations by number of members
Denominations
The "Arab Christian" label largely belongs to followers of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic Church and Oriental Orthodox Churches, though there are also adherents to other churches, including Latin Catholic Church and Protestant Churches. The issue of self-identification arises regarding specific Christian communities across the Arab world. A significant proportion of Maronites claim descent from the Phoenicians, whilst a significant proportion of Copts claim that they descend from the Ancient Egyptians.[127][128]
List of churches based in the Arab world, including self-identification of adherents
DenominationCommunionMembersMembership primarily subscribes to Arab identity?HeadquartersLiturgical languageArea
Coptic Orthodox Church of AlexandriaOriental Orthodox10 million​[129]​[130]​[131]​[132]​[133]Mixed[134]Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Cairo, Egypt[135]Coptic, Arabic[136]Egypt[136]
Maronite ChurchCatholic3.5 million[137]Mixed[138]Bkerké, Lebanon[139]Arabic, Syriac[140]Lebanon (approximately one third), Syria, Israel, Cyprus, Jordan[141]
Greek Orthodox Church of AntiochEastern Orthodox2.5 million[142]Yes[143]Mariamite Cathedral, Damascus, Syria[144]Greek, Arabic[145]Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Iraq[citation needed]
Syriac Orthodox ChurchOriental Orthodox1.7 million[146][147]Mixed[148][149][150]Cathedral of Saint George, Damascus, Syria; [151] (historically Mor Hananyo Monastery, Tur Abdin)Syriac[152]Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey[152]
Melkite Greek Catholic ChurchCatholic1.6 million[137]Yes[153]Cathedral of Our Lady of the Dormition, Damascus, Syria[154]Arabic, Greek[155]Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Syria, Iraq[156]
Chaldean Catholic ChurchCatholic0.6 million[137]Yes[157][158]Cathedral of Mary Mother of Sorrows, Baghdad, Iraq[159]Syriac[160]Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria[161]
Greek Orthodox Church of AlexandriaEastern Orthodox0.5 - 2.9 million[162][163]Mixed[164]Cathedral of Evangelismos, Alexandria, Egypt[165]Greek, Arabic[165]Africa[166]
Assyrian Church of the EastChurch of the East0.5 million[167]No[168]Ankawa, Erbil, Iraq[169]Syriac[169]Iraq, Iran, Syria[169]
Syriac Catholic ChurchCatholic0.2 million[137]Mixed[170]Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Saint Paul, Damascus, Syria[171]SyriacLebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey[172]
Coptic Catholic ChurchCatholic0.2 million[137]Mixed[134]Cathedral of Our Lady of Egypt, Cairo, Egypt[173]CopticEgypt[173]
Greek Orthodox Church of JerusalemEastern Orthodox0.2 million[174]Yes[175]Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem[176]Greek, Arabic[177]Palestine, Israel, Jordan[178]
Ancient Church of the EastChurch of the East0.1 million[179]No[180]Baghdad, IraqSyriacIraq
Question of Identity
Arab
Street vendor selling the Falastin newspaper in Jaffa, Palestine 1921
See also: Arab nationalism and Martyrs' Day (Lebanon and Syria)
Djemal Pasha publicly executed Arab and Syrian nationalists–many Christian–whom espoused anti-Ottoman views in Syria and Lebanon (Ottoman Syria)
The designation "Greek" in the Greek Orthodox Church and Melkite Greek Catholic Church refers to the use of Koine Greek in liturgy, used today alongside Arabic. As a result, the Greek dominated clergy was commonplace serving the Arabic speaking Christians, the majority who couldn't speak Greek. Some viewed Greek rule as cultural imperialism and demanded emancipation from Greek control, as well as the abolishment of the centralized structure of the institution via Arab inclusion in decision-making processes.[181]
The struggle for the Arabization of the Orthodox Church against the Greek clerical hegemony in Palestine in particular led Orthodox Christian intellectuals to rebel against the Church’s Greek dominated hierarchy. The rebellion was divided between those who sought a common Ottoman cause against European intrusions and those who identified with Arab nationalism against pan-Turkic (Ottoman) nationalism.[182] Its main advocates were well known community leaders and writers in Palestine, such as Ya‘qub Farraj, Khalil al-Sakakini, Yusuf al-Bandak (publisher of Sawtal-Sha‘b) and cousins Yousef and Issa El-Issa (founders of Falastin). The cousins belonged to the Palestinian Christian El-Issa family and were among the first to establish Palestinian nationalism and elucidate the Arab struggle against the Greek clerical hegemony of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. Both Sakakini and Issa El-Issa argued the Palestinian and Syrian (Antiochian) community constituted an oppressed majority, controlled and manipulated by a minority Greek clergy.[183] There have been numerous disputes between the Arab and the Greek leadership of the church in Jerusalem from the Mandate onwards.[184][185] Jordan encouraged the Greeks to open the Brotherhood to Arab members of the community between 1948 and 1967 when the West Bank was under Jordanian rule.[184] Land and political disputes have been common since 1967, with the Greek priests portrayed as collaborators with Israel. Land disputes include the sale of St. John's property in the Christian quarter, the transfer of fifty dunams near Mar Elias monastery, and the sale of two hotels and twenty-seven stores on Omar Bin Al-Khattab square near the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.[184] A dispute between the Palestinian Authority and the Greek Patriarch Irenaios led to the Patriarch being dismissed and demoted because of accusations of a real estate deal with Israel.[186]
Antiochian Greek Christian
See also: Byzantine Rite and Rum Millet
Map of the Diocese of the East 400 AD, homeland of the Rûm Christians; showing modern day Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Israel, Palestine and Jordan
The homeland of the Antiochian Greek Christians, known as the Diocese of the East, was one of the major commercial, agricultural, religious, and intellectual areas of the Roman Empire, and its strategic location facing the Persian Sassanid Empire gave it exceptional military importance.[187] They are either members of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch or the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and they have ancient roots in the Levant, more specifically, the territories of western Syria, northern and central Lebanon, western Jordan, and Hatay, which includes the city of Antakya (ancient Antioch). Antiochian Greeks constitute a multi-national group of people and thus construct their identity in relation to specific historical moments. Analyzing cultural identity as a conscious construction is more helpful than a simple labelling of ethnicity, thus the identity is assumed to accentuate the separate origin unique to the Rûm (lit "Roman" or "Asian-Greek") Christians of the Levant.[188] Some members of the community also call themselves Melkite, which means "monarchists" or "supporters of the emperor" (a reference to their past allegiance to Macedonian and Roman imperial rule) although In the modern era, that term tends to be more commonly used by followers of the (Melkite) Catholic Church.[189]
The Orthodox Christian congregation was included in a ethno-religious community, Rum millet ("Roman nation"), during the Ottoman Empire. Its name was derived from the former Eastern Roman (Byzantine) subjects of the Ottoman Empire, but all Orthodox Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians and Serbs, as well as Georgians and Middle Eastern Christians, were considered part of the same millet in spite of their differences in ethnicity and language. Belonging to this Orthodox commonwealth became more important to the common people than their ethnic origins.[190]
Assyrians
Main article: Assyrian people
The Assyrians form the majority of Christians in Iraq, northeast Syria, south-east Turkey and north-west Iran. They are specifically defined as non-Arab indigenous ethnic group, including by the governments of Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Israel, and Turkey. Assyrians practice their own native dialects of Syriac-Aramaic language, in addition to also sometimes speaking local Arabic, Turkish or Farsi dialects.[191] They likewise pointed out that Arab nationalist groups have wrongly included Assyrian-Americans in their headcount of Arab Americans, in order to bolster their political clout in Washington.[192] Some Arab American groups have imported this denial of Assyrian identity to the United States. In 2001, a coalition of Assyrian-Chaldean and Maronite church organizations, wrote to the Arab-American Institute, to reprimand them for claiming that Assyrians were Arabs. They asked the Arab-American Institute "to cease and desist from portraying Assyrians and Maronites of past and present as Arabs, and from speaking on behalf of Assyrians and Maronites."[193][194]
Key schisms in Middle Eastern Christian denominations
Chaldeans
See also: Chaldean Catholic Church and Chaldean Catholics
The former Patriarch of the Chaldean Church, Mar Emmanuel Delly, made the following comment in a 2006 interview:
Any Chaldean who calls himself an Assyrian is a traitor and any Assyrian who calls himself Chaldean is a traitor.[195]
The Chaldean Church—which had been part of the Nestorian Church, or Church of the East, until 1552/3—began in earnest to distance itself from the Nestorians who were now seen as the ‘uncouth Assyrians’. During this period, many Chaldeans began identifying themselves solely by their religious community, and later as Iraqis, Iraqi Christians, or Arab Christians, rather than with the Assyrian community as a whole. The first split for the two groups came in 431, when they broke away from what was to become the Roman Catholic church over a theological dispute.[196] The reverberation of religious animosity between these communities still continues today, a testament to the machinations of power politics in the nation-building of the Middle East.[197]
The Iraqi Chaldeans positioned themselves deliberately as a religious group within the Arab Iraqi nation. The Arab identity of the state was not only acceptable to them, but was even staunchly endorsed. The Arab nationalism they supported did not discriminate according to religion and was therefore also acceptable to them.[180] Today, due to both forced and accepted Arabization, many Chaldeans identify themselves situationally as Arabs.[198]
Copts
Main articles: Copts and Coptic identity
The Copts are the native Egyptian Christians, a major ethnoreligious group in Egypt. Christianity was the majority religion in Roman Egypt during the 4th to 6th centuries and until the Muslim conquest[199] and remains the faith of a significant minority population. Their Coptic language is the direct descendant of the Demotic Egyptian spoken in the Roman era, but it has been near-extinct and mostly limited to liturgical use since the 18th century. Copts in Egypt constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East, as well as the largest religious minority in the region, accounting for an estimated 10% of Egyptian population.[200] Most Copts adhere to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria.[201]
Maronites
Further information: Maronites
In post civil-war Lebanon since the Taif Agreement, Phoenicianism; as an alternate to Arabism, has been restricted to a small group.[202]
Demographics
West Asia
Iraq
Further information: Christianity in Iraq
The Arab Christian community in Iraq is relatively small, and further dwindled due to the Iraq War to just several thousand. Most Arab Christians in Iraq belong traditionally to Greek Orthodox and Catholic Churches and are concentrated in major cities such as Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. The vast majority of the remaining 450,000 to 900,000 Christians in Iraq are Assyrian people.[203]
Israel
Further information: Christianity in Israel
In December 2009, 122,000 Arab Christians lived in Israel, as Arab citizens of Israel, out of a total of 151,700 Christian citizens.[204] According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, on the eve of Christmas 2013, there were approximately 161,000 Christians in Israel, about 2 percent of the general population in Israel. 80% of the Christians are Arab[205] with smaller Christian communities of ethnic Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Maronites, Ukrainians and Assyrians.[206]
As of 2014 the Melkite Greek Catholic Church was the largest Christian community in Israel, where about 60% of Israeli Christians belonged to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church,[207] while around 30% of Israeli Christians belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.[207]
Exterior of St. Peter's Church, Jaffa
Arab Christians are one of the most educated groups in Israel. Maariv has described the Christian Arabs sectors as "the most successful in education system".[208] Statistically, Christian Arabs in Israel have the highest rates of educational attainment among all religious communities, according to a data by Israel Central Bureau of Statistics in 2010, 63% of Israeli Christian Arabs have had college or postgraduate education, the highest of any religious and ethno-religious group.[209] Christian Arabs also have one of the highest rates of success in the matriculation examinations per capita, (73.9%) in 2016 both in comparison to the Muslims and the Druze and in comparison to all students in the Jewish education system as a group, Arab Christians were also the vanguard in terms of eligibility for higher education.[210][211][212] and they have attained a bachelor's degree and academic degree more than Jewish, Muslims and Druze per capita.[210] The rate of students studying in the field of medicine was also higher among the Christian Arab students, compared with all the students from other sectors.[210] despite the fact that Arab Christians only represent 2.1% of the total Israeli population,[213] in 2014 they accounted for 17.0% of the country's university students, and for 14.4% of its college students.[214]
Socio-economically, Arab Christians are closer to the Jewish population than to the Muslim population.[215] They have the lowest incidence of poverty and the lowest percentage of unemployment which is 4.9% compared to 6.5% among Jewish men and women.[216] They have also the highest median household income among Arab citizens of Israel and second highest median household income among the Israeli ethno-religious groups.[217] Among Arab Christians in Israel, some emphasize pan-Arabism, whilst a small minority enlists in the Israel Defense Forces.[218][219]
Jordan
Further information: Christianity in Jordan
Christian Arab Tribalists from the city of Madaba, Jordan. A small percentage of Jordanian Christians are ethnically Bedouin
Jordan contains some of the oldest Christian communities in the world, their presence dating back to the first century AD. Today, Christians today make up about 4% of the population, down from 20% in 1930.[220] This is due to high immigration rates of Muslims into Jordan, higher emigration rates of Christians to the west and higher birth rates for Muslims.[221] Christians in Jordan are exceptionally well integrated in the Jordanian society and enjoy a high level of freedom.[222] Christians are allotted nine out of a total of 130 seats in the Parliament of Jordan, and also hold important ministerial portfolios, ambassadorial appointments, and positions of high military rank. All Christian religious ceremonies are publicly celebrated in Jordan.[223]
The Aqaba Church in Jordan dates from the fourth century AD, it is considered to be the world's first purpose built Christian church[224]
Jordanian Arab Christians (some have Palestinian roots since 1948) number around 221,000, according to a 2014 estimate by the Orthodox Church. The study excluded minority Christian groups and the thousands of western, Iraqi and Syrian Christians residing in Jordan.[2] Another estimate suggests the Orthodox number 125–300,000, Catholics at 114,000 and Protestants at 30,000 for a total 270–450,000. Most native Christians in Jordan identify themselves as Arab, though there are also significant Assyrian and Armenian populations in the country. There has also been an influx of Christian refugees escaping Daesh, mainly from Mosul, Iraq, numbering about 7000[225] and 20,000 from Syria.[226] Petra in Jordan is an ancient Nabataean city and it is considered to be a sacred site for many Arab Christians in the Levant.[227]King Abdullah II of Jordan has made firm statements about Arab Christians:
Let me say once again: Arab Christians are an integral part of my region’s past, present, and future.[228]
Lebanon
Further information: Christianity in Lebanon
Lebanese Christian men from Mount Lebanon, late 1800s
Lebanon holds the largest number of Christians in the Arab world proportionally and falls just behind Egypt in absolute numbers. About 350,000 of Christians in Lebanon are Orthodox and Melkites, while the most dominant group are Maronites with about 1 million population, whose Arab identity is somewhat disputed.[229]
Christians constituted 60% of the population of Lebanon in 1932.[230] The exact number of Christians in modern Lebanon is uncertain because no official census has been made in Lebanon since 1932. Lebanese Christians belong mostly to the Maronite and Greek Orthodox Churches, with sizable minorities belonging to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and Armenian Apostolic Church. The community of Armenians in Lebanon is politically and demographically significant.
Lebanese Christians are the only Christians in the Middle East with a sizable political role in the country. In accordance with the National Pact, the President of Lebanon must be a Maronite Christian, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament a Greek Orthodox Christian and Melkites and Protestants have nine reserved seats in the Parliament of Lebanon.[231]
State of Palestine
Further information: Christianity in Palestine
Interior of the house of a Christian Family in Jerusalem, ca 1850
Jerusalem church leaders in 1922
Most of the Palestinian Christians claim descent from the first Christian converts, Arameans, Ghassanid Arabs and Greeks who settled in the region. Between 36,000 and 50,000 Christians live in Palestine, most of whom belong to the Orthodox (Including Greek, Syriac and Armenian Orthodox), Catholic (Roman and Melchite) churches and Evangelical communities. The majority of Palestinian Christians live in the Bethlehem and Ramallah areas with a less number in other places.[232] In 2007, just before the Hamas takeover of Gaza, there were 3,200 Christians living in the Gaza Strip.[233] Half the Christian community in Gaza fled to the West Bank and abroad after the Hamas take-over in 2007.[234]
Many Palestinian Christians hold high-ranking positions in Palestinian society, particularly at the political and social levels. They manage the high ranking schools, universities, cultural centers and hospitals, however, Christian communities in the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza Strip have greatly dwindled over the last two decades. The causes of the Palestinian Christian exodus are widely debated and it started since the Ottoman times.[235] Reuters reports that many Palestinian Christians emigrate in pursuit of better living standards,[232] while the BBC also blames the economic decline in the Palestinian Authority as well as pressure from the security situation upon their lifestyle.[236] The Vatican and the Catholic Church saw the Israeli occupation and the general conflict in the Holy Land as the principal reasons for the Christian exodus from the territories.[237] The decline of the Christian community in Palestine follows the trend of Christian emigration from the Muslim dominated Middle East. Some churches have attempted to ameliorate the rate of emigration of young Christians by building subsidized housing for them and expanding efforts at job training.[238]
Syria
Further information: Christianity in Syria
Mosaic depicting Mary holding an Arabic text, Our Lady of Saidnaya Monastery, a Greek Orthodox Church in Sednaya, Syria
Al-Husn is a Christian village located in the Valley of Christians ("Wadi al-Nasara") in Homs
The Arab Christians of Syria are Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic (Melkites) as well as some Latin Rite Roman Catholics. Non-Arab Syrian Christians include Assyrians (mainly in the northeast), Greeks and Armenians. Assyrian Iraqi Christian refugees fled to Syria after massacres in Turkey and Iraq during and after WWI and then post-2003. Due to the Syrian civil war, a large number of Christians fled the country to Lebanon, Jordan, and Europe, though the major share of the population still resides in Syria (some being internally displaced). The largest Christian denomination in Syria is the Greek Orthodox church, most of whom are Arab Christians, followed in second place by the Syriac Orthodox, many of whose followers espouse an Assyrian identity.[239]
The combined population of Syria and Lebanon in 1910 was estimated at 30% in a population of 3.5 million. According to the 1960 census in Syria which recorded just over 4.5 million inhabitants, Christians formed just under 15% of the population (or 675,000).[240] Since 1960 the population of Syria has increased five-fold, but the Christian population only 3.5 times. Due to political reasons, no newer census has been taken since. Most recent estimates prior to the Syrian civil war suggested that overall Christians comprised about 10% of the overall population of Syrian 23 million citizens, due to having lower birth rates and higher emigration rates than their Muslim compatriots.[241]
Though religious freedom is allowed in the Syrian Arab Republic, all citizens of Syria including Christians, are subject to the Shari'a-based personal status laws regulating child custody, inheritance, and adoption.[239] For example, in the case of divorce, a woman loses the right to custody of her sons when they reach the age of thirteen and her daughters when they reach the age of fifteen, regardless of religion.[239]
Western Aramaic is spoken by Arab Christians and Muslims alike in remote villages in Syria, including Maaloula, Jubb'adin and Bakhah.[242]
Turkey
Further information: Christianity in Turkey
Antiochian Greeks who mostly live in Hatay Province, are one of the Arabic-speaking communities in Turkey, their number approximately 18,000.[243] They are Greek Orthodox. However, they are sometimes known as Arab Christians, primarily because of their language. Antioch (capital of Hatay Province) is also the historical capital of Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch. Turkey is also home to a number of non-Arab Armenians (who number around 70,000),[244] Greeks (who number around 5,000 not including Antiochian Greeks) and Assyrian Christians in the southeast. The village of Tokaçlı in Altınözü District has an entirely Arab Christian population and is one of the few Christian villages in Turkey.[245]
Arabian Peninsula
Jubail Church is a 4th-century church building near Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It belonged to the Church of the East, an ancient Nestorian branch of Christianity in the Middle East. It is one of the oldest churches in the world[246]
Kuwait's native Christian population exists, though is essentially small. There are between 259 and 400 Christian Kuwaiti citizens.[247] Christian Kuwaitis can be divided into two groups. The first group includes the earliest Kuwaiti Christians, who originated from Iraq and Turkey.[248] They have assimilated into Kuwaiti society, like their Muslim counterparts, and tend to speak Arabic with a Kuwaiti dialect; their food and culture are also predominantly Kuwaiti. They makeup roughly a quarter of Kuwait's Christian population. The rest (roughly three-quarters) of Christian Kuwaitis make up the second group. They are more recent arrivals in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly Kuwaitis of Palestinian ancestry who were forced out of Palestine after 1948.[248] There are also smaller numbers who originally hail from Syria and Lebanon.[248] This second group is not as assimilated as the first group, as their food, culture, and Arabic dialect still retain a Levant feel. However, they are just as patriotic as the former group, and tend to be proud of their adopted homeland, with many serving in the army, police, civil, and foreign service. Most of Kuwait's citizen Christians belong to 12 large families, with the Shammas (from Turkey) and the Shuhaibar (from Palestine) families being some of the more prominent ones.[248]
Native Christians who hold Bahraini citizenship number approximately 1,000 persons.[249] The majority of Christians are originally from Iraq, Palestine and Jordan, with a small minority having lived in Bahrain for many centuries; the majority have been living as Bahraini citizens for less than a century. There are also smaller numbers of native Christians who originally hail from Lebanon, Syria, and India. The majority of Christian Bahraini citizens tend to be Orthodox Christians, with the largest church by membership being the Greek Orthodox Church. They enjoy many equal religious and social freedom. Bahrain has Christian members in the Bahraini government.
North Africa
Further information: Christianity in Algeria, Christianity in Morocco, Christianity in Libya, and Christianity in Tunisia
Greek Orthodox Church of St. George (Cairo)
There are tiny communities of Roman Catholics in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, and Morocco due to colonial rule - French rule for Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, Spanish rule for Morocco and Western Sahara, and Italian rule for Libya. Most Christians in North Africa are foreign missionaries, immigrant workers, and people of French, Spanish, and Italian colonial descent. The North African Christians of Berber or Arab descent mostly converted during the modern era or under and after French colonialism.[250][251]
Arguably, many more Maghrebi Christians of Arab or Berber descent live in France than in North Africa, due to the exodus of the pieds-noirs in the 1960s. Charles de Foucauld was renowned for his missions in North Africa among Muslims, including African Arabs. Today conversions to Christianity have been most common in Algeria,[252] especially in the Kabylie, and Morocco[253] and Tunisia.[254] A 2015 study estimates 380,000 Muslims converted to Christianity in Algeria.[255] While it's estimated that between 8,000[256]-40,000[257] Moroccans converted to Christianity in the last decades; although some estimate the number to be as high as 150,000.[258] In Tunisia, however, the number of Tunisian Christians is estimated to be around 23,500.[259]
Egypt
Further information: Christianity in Egypt
Most Egyptian Christians are Copts, who are mainly members of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Although Copts in Egypt speak Egyptian Arabic, many of them do not consider themselves to be ethnically Arabs, but rather descendants of the ancient Egyptians.
Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria is an autocephalous Byzantine Rite jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Church, having the African continent as its canonical territory. It is commonly called the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria to distinguish it from the Oriental Orthodox Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria.[166]
See also
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  256. ^ News, Morning Star. "Christian Converts in Morocco Fear Fatwa Calling for Their Execution". News & Reporting.
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Last edited on 9 May 2021, at 21:19
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