Benedict XVI: the revolutionary Pope? Resignation seen as 'eruption of modernity'

The decision was taken with meticulous care, but there is no reason to believe it was not taken alone, or at most with the knowledge of a tiny handful.

Henry I (c. 1068/69 – 1135): Henry was buried in Reading Abbey but this was destroyed in the Dissolution

England’s missing monarchs: Richard III may have been found but eight other rulers are still missing

For a royalist country, England has been rather careless with its old monarchs. Richard III may have now been found after being mislaid for 500 years, but eight other rulers are still missing.

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography By John J Collins / The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea By Joan E Taylor

For six decades, the enigmatic texts have excited and baffled seekers after the origins of faith

Patriarch Maxim: Church leader under communism

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria was a priest who saw regimes come and go over his long tenure. From 1971 Maxim led the Bulgarian Orthodox Church – Bulgaria's dominant religion, claiming more than 80 per cent of the country's 7.4 million people.

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Is it safe to go to Dahab?

Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions

The acting Coptic Pope, Bishop Pachomius, blindfolds Bishoy Massad, the eight-year-old selected to draw the name of the next patriarch at St Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo

Egypt's ancient Coptic Christian church chooses a new pope in elaborate ceremony

Altar boy Bishoy Massad looked a little awestruck as he stepped up to the podium at the front of the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo today.

Republic of Ireland abandoning religion faster than almost every other country in the world

Worldwide, only Vietnam experienced a greater drop in those describing themselves as religious

The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin (right) has warned that the Catholic Church in Ireland is 'at breaking point'

Irish Catholics rejecting church doctrine

Vast majority surveyed say Vatican's teachings on sex and marriage are no longer relevant

Palestinian Christian priests conduct prayers in Beit Jala in protest at the Israeli plans to extend the 470-mile security barrier through the town

Oh brothers, where art thou?

Israel's plans to extend its controversial 470-mile security barrier further into Palestinian territory have pitted a Christian community's nuns and monks against each other, writes Catrina Stewart in Beit Jala

Malban Cottage has been remodelled from two properties to now sleep ten

Stay The Night: Combermere Cottages, Shropshire

The decorators have been in at Combermere Abbey and given the old stables a fresh contemporary look

Scenes from Kiev: Elton John hugs a patient at a drop-in centre funded by his Aids Foundation

Sir Elton and Kiev's lost generation

For people infected with HIV in Ukraine, there has often been little hope. For years they have been stigmatised, ignored, offered inadequate treatment and found themselves pushed to the edge of society, regularly forced to live without homes, support or even the official papers needed to find a job. Until now, however, there has been one clear beacon: a refuge desperately needed in a region that now has the world's fastest-growing infection rate.

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti, By Mohammed Hanif

This is real life. That thing you slashed was a real cock." Alice Bhatti, a Christian nurse working in a dilapidated hospital in Pakistan's dusty, sprawling metropolis Karachi, barely thinks twice before putting a blade to her wealthy assailant's penis. She is anything but the underdog that her status in such a society would imply. Alice is no frail social outcast battling against Pakistan's misogynistic patriarchy and religious majority. Mohammed Hanif has penned his protagonist as a feisty yet compassionate ex-convict, who bludgeons a corrupt surgeon, tackles extremist Muslim girls at her nursing school, and cares for her patients with endearingly understated zeal.

Vatican orders inquiry into Ealing sex abuse claims

The Vatican has ordered an inquiry into historic sex offences at a London abbey.

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For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
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How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit