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.

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.

Vatican orders inquiry into Ealing sex abuse claims

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

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.

Robert Fisk: Egypt's revolution was not meant to be like this

The statistics are easy, the future is not. Up to 20 million Copts in Egypt, 10 per cent of the population, the largest Christian community in the region. But President Anwar Sadat once described himself as "a Muslim president for a Muslim people" and the Christians have not forgotten it.

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones