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Monasticism is an important feature of Ethiopian Christianity that needs to be understood by people interested in the history and teaching of the local Orthodox Church. The sources suggest that, for Ethiopians, monasticism is a higher form of Christianity. This might be because Christianity itself was introduced to the country by monk missionaries. The Rules of Pachomius, the father of cenobitic monasticism, were among the first religious books translated into the local language, along with the scriptures of the New Testament. The oldest known biblical manuscript in the world belonged to one of these monks. The monasteries these monks and their followers established served the Church very well for centuries as centers of education and the production of its literature. Despite setbacks from the destructions inflicted on them by Muslims in revolt coming from the east and pastoralist Oromo migrating from the south into the interior in the sixteenth century, the monasteries remain to this day the backbone of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.