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A vicars' pension scheme could be facing a precarious future unless church chiefs face up to a potentially massive deficit. John Ralfe, an independent pension expert, claimed this week that the pension scheme for some 16,400 Church of England clergy is "the riskiest in the country in terms of asset-type".

People gather around the new bells of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral during their blessing mass

Two centuries on the bells of Notre Dame ring again on 850th birthday

A sound not heard since the late 18th century pealed tunefully, and movingly, over central Paris at the weekend.

Rupert Thomson

Book of a lifetime: On the High Wire by Philippe Petit

In 1985 I worked for the Strand, New York’s most famous second-hand bookstore.

Canterbury court sentences royal car protester Jonathan Elliott

A protester has been bound over to keep the peace for 12 months after he lunged at a car carrying the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall before the Archbishop of Canterbury's enthronement.

February 5, 2013: A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is displayed at a news conference in central London. The reconstruction is based on a CT scan of human remains found in a council car park in Leicester which are believed to belong to the last of the Plantagenet monarchs of Britain who was killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Poll: Where should Richard III be interred?

When the skeleton of the crooked-backed Plantagenet king Richard III was found under a car park in Leicester, a petty civil war broke between four British cities, all staking their claim as the rightful burial ground for the dead monarch.

February 5, 2013: A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is displayed at a news conference in central London. The reconstruction is based on a CT scan of human remains found in a council car park in Leicester which are believed to belong to the last of the Plantagenet monarchs of Britain who was killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Fit for a king? Royal row rumbles on over where Richard III should be laid to rest

He was rescued from the council car park - and is now heading for a plain-looking tomb in Leicester Cathedral

Question Time to be broadcast from St Paul's Cathedral for the first time

A year ago St Paul’s Cathedral found itself embroiled in debate with the Occupy movement, and now the cathedral looks set to engage in debate again when it hosts Question Time this month.

Postcard from... Cologne

Archbishops of Canterbury and York to tweet sermons

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York will tweet their sermons for the first time today to “bring the meaning of Christmas to a new digital audience”.

Archbishop of Westminster attacks gay marriage plan

Leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England said there was no mandate to enforce same-sex marriage laws

Newtown mourns its dead

Bells toll in memory of school shooting victims

Bells tolled at houses of worship across the country Friday morning — including most prominently at Washington National Cathedral and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — in memory of those who died tragically in Newtown, Connecticut, last week.

<p>1. Church of St Peter and St Paul, Guildford, Surrey</p>
<p>23 December, free, 01483 202594</p>
<p>Wrap up warm to hear the carols in this ancient church. Mulled wine and mince pies should help to keep you toasty, though.</p>

The 10 Best carol services

From candlelit concerts to the famous King’s College Choir, we pick the best of this year’s celebrations of song

Collaborator: Harvey, centre, with the conductors Ilan Volkov, left, and Stefan Solyom

Professor Jonathan Harvey: Composer whose work spanned electronic and church music

He was a gifted cellist, and his work remained rooted in the practicalities of performance

Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a raucous protest against President Vladimir Putin

Pussy Riot member in single cell after clash with other inmates

One of the jailed Pussy Riot punk protesters, Maria Alyokhina, has been moved to a single-person cell at her own request because of tensions with follow prisoners, Russia's federal penitentiary service said today.

Freed feminist Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich

Pussy Riot prisoners sack lawyers who 'cashed in on fame'

Legal team hit back by claiming that freed member of activist trio is a Kremlin collaborator

Female Church of England clergy walk into the venue of the three-day

Supporters of women bishops expect their prayers to be answered at last

The General Synod votes today as the traditionalists make  a last-ditch stand

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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn