Descendants of the pharaohs, today the Copts are undergoing a dual temptation: one the one hand, flight abroad; on the other, closure in the form of devotional revivalism. But the election of their new Pope, Tawadros II, could open up surprising scenarios.
Today the Copts are the most numerous Christian community in the Arab world. Paradoxically, it is perhaps because of this fact that they owe the identity related displeasure of not being able to be counted with precision. The calculations vary between 6% (the official estimate that is often supplied by the Egyptian authorities) and about 20% of the population. One can reasonably think that they are in reality a little below 10% of the inhabitants of the country, that is to say about eight million souls, of whom the vast majority are ‘orthodox’ Copts.