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In December 2016 a Coptic Cathedral was bombed in central Cairo, leaving some 25 people dead, and twin attacks on Palm Sunday 2017 killed dozens.
During the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the Egyptian military drove tanks over and murdered some 28 Coptic protesters and injured hundreds in what became known as the Maspero Massacre.
It is derived from an ancient Greek word that simply means “Egyptian.” Copts are fiercely proud of their Egyptian heritage that dates back to the age of the pyramids as early as 3000 B. The vast majority of Copts are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church, an independent church that arose in A. 451, long before the divide that created the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in 1054.
The language of the Coptic Orthodox church service (or liturgy) used in daily worship is also known as Coptic.
Today, Egyptian Christians make up approximately 5 to 10 percent of the Egyptian population.
By the fourth century, the majority of Egyptians had embraced the Christian faith.
Coptic Christians in Egypt have been attacked while traveling on pilgrimages and bombed while praying on Palm Sunday, amid an accelerating series of attacks over the last decade.
The interrelated challenges of violence, economics and discrimination have led to the increasing departure of Christians from the Middle East.
Copts differ from other Christian denominations in that they follow a different religious calendar and generally share beliefs and rituals similar to those of the Greek Orthodox Church.
The Coptic calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar, and hence Christmas is observed on January 7 and Easter falls usually in late April or early May.
One of Egypt’s richest men, Naguib Sawiris, is a Copt, and so are most of Cairo’s garbage collectors, the zabellin.