Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II has said that Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has a "national duty" to stand for president in upcoming polls.
"Egyptians see him as a saviour and the hero of the June 30 revolution," Tawadros said during an interview with Kuwait's Al-Watan TV channel on Saturday. He referred to last summer's mass protests against former President Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military.
Sisi, currently the country's army chief and defence minister, has the "discipline" necessary to lead the country, Tawadros said.
The pope also added, however, that "everyone has the freedom of choice to choose who they see fit to become their leader."
Sisi is widely expected to stand for president but is yet to officially declare his candidacy.
The pope also criticised the Western media, saying it had fabricated facts about the situation in Egypt following the military's ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi.
Tawadros further condemned the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in late 2010 before spreading to Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain.
The uprisings "known as the Arab Spring, were neither a spring nor an autumn," he said. "It was an Arab winter brought by malicious hands to our Arab region to break up its countries into smaller states."
Tawadros II was selected as Egypt's 118th Coptic Orthodox Pope in November 2012, succeeding Pope Shenouda III who passed away in March 2012.
Copts make up about ten percent of Egypt's 85-million population.