Excerpt:

It brings together the most unlikely of bedfellows from Prince Harry to Gerry Adams and even – in many depictions – God himself.

Now the fashion for beards has been given the blessing of the Church of England, after one of the country's most senior clerics praised vicars who grow them to appeal to Muslim communities around them.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, singled out two East End priests who had cultivated bushy facial hair "of an opulence that would not have disgraced a Victorian sage", for special praise.


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