The largest Christian group in the Middle East is the previously Coptic speaking but today mostly Arabic-speaking Egyptian Copts, who number 15–21 million people, Copts reside mainly in Egypt, but also in Sudan and Libya, with tiny communities in Israel, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia.The Eastern Aramaic speaking indigenous Assyrians of Iraq, southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran and northeastern Syria, who number 2–3 million, have suffered both ethnic and religious persecution for many centuries, such as the Assyrian Genocide conducted by the Ottoman Turks and their allies, leading to many fleeing and congregating in areas in the north of Iraq and northeast of Syria.Most Arab Christian Catholics however are originally non-Arab - with Melkites and Rum Christians being Arabized originally Greek-speaking Byzantine populations.Arabized Catholic Melkite Christians of the Byzantine Rite, who are either referred as Arab Christians or Greeks, number over 1 million in the Middle East.Assyrian Christians were between 800,000 and 1.2 million before 2003.During 2014, the Assyrian population of large parts North Iraq largely collapsed due to the persecution and extermination by ISIL.Christians now make up approximately 5% of the Middle Eastern population, down from 20% in the early 20th century.
In the Persian Gulf states, Bahrain has 1,000 Christian citizens Although the vast majority of Middle Eastern populations descend from Pre-Arab and Non-Arab peoples extant long before the 7th century AD Arab Islamic conquest, a 2015 study estimates there are also 483,500 Christian believers from a previously Muslim background in the Middle East, most of them being adherents of various Protestant churches.
Christianity, which originated in the Middle East in the 1st century AD, is a significant minority religion of the region.
Christianity in the Middle East is characterized by the diversity of its beliefs and traditions, compared to other parts of the Old World.
They came into existence as a result of a schism within the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch over election of a Patriarch in 1724.
The Armenians number around 1 million in the Middle East, with their largest community in Iran with 200,000 members.