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Christian communities in Middle East

10/7/2010 Middle East (Reuters) – Pope Benedict has called bishops to a two-week Vatican synod from Oct. 10 to discuss the fate of Christian minorities in the Middle East, where some face conflict, discrimination, economic woes or sectarian tensions.

With emigration rife, Christian communities have dwindled in many parts of the region where their faith was born. Here are estimates of how many still live in Middle Eastern countries:

Turkey — 85,000 Christians (about 0.2% of the population), of which 20,000 Catholics of the Armenian, Syrian and Chaldean churches.

Israel — 150,000 Christians (about 2% of the population), of which 85,000 Catholics of the Roman and Greek Melkite churches.

Palestinian territories — 50,000 Christians (about 0.8% of the population), of which 17,000 Roman Catholics.

Egypt — 8 million Christians (about 10% of the population), of which 250,000 Coptic Catholics.

Iraq — 850,000 Christians (about 3% of the population), of which 400,000 Catholics, mostly of the Chaldean and Syrian churches. Many Christians have fled the country or have been displaced internally since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Iran — 135,000 Christians (about 0.3% of the population), of which 20,000 Catholics, mostly Chaldeans.

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