Pope Tawadros II
Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria, called on tourists on Tuesday to visit Egypt's monasteries in order to learn about Coptic history.
He said that Al-Muharraq Monastery is the foundation of teachings of theology and a shrine for hermits and monks.
The pope said that monasteries should open their doors to scientific research during the opening of the International Scientific Conference on the study of Coptic history and archaeology.
This is the sixth conference on the history of monasticism and it is held from 4-10 February. The conference that is organized by the Saint Mar Morqus American foundation for historical studies recieves around 100 researchers of Coptic monuments every year.
The Pope's visit to the monastery is the fourth visit to the monastery by the papal chair and is the first time in over 30 years.
Al-Muharraq Monastery which is also known as the Monastery of the Holy Virgin Mary lies in Assuit, on the path of the flight of the Holy Family in Egypt.
It had been a refuge for the Coptic martyrs and was partially burned in the middle centuries (the word "Muharraq" means burned in Arabic).
It is considered very holy to Copts who have nicknamed the location the "Second Bethlehem". Many pilgrims from every district have made the journey to the monastery's churches during ancient times.