There are over 15 million Coptic Christians in Egypt, with another 1.5 million Egyptian Copts residing abroad, Bishop Yoannis declared on Sunday.
Yoannis, the religious services bishop for the Coptic Orthodox Church, made the statement during a ceremony to honor Pope Tawadros II and a number of Coptic artists, intellectuals and journalists. The ceremony was held by the Lebanese Society for Elderly Care in Alexandria.
“There is a very large number of Copts who have emigrated from Egypt during the recent period, but we do not have statistics or precise figures,” the bishop added.
He does not have any concerns or fears when it comes to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood; “this stems from my belief that the church is in the hands of God,” Yoannis said.
He called on Egyptians to have hope, and open their hearts for dialogue and discussion rather than “rivalry.”
The society also honored artists Samir Sabri and Ilham Shaheen, novelist Youssef Zeidan, writer Saad Eddin al-Helaly, former presidential candidate Abdallah al-Ashaal and Lebanese TV presenter Tony Khalifa, in addition to a number of diplomacy figures.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm