The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has issued a warning over defence cuts during his Christmas message to soldiers serving overseas.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service that the cuts needed to be done with "far, far greater sensitivity" or they could "risk the safety of the nation and the peace of the world".
The Archbishop of York has warned that severe defence cuts in Britain will "risk the safety of the nation and the peace of the world".
While delivering his Christmas message to armed forces serving overseas, Dr John Sentamu said Government plans to replace thousands of full-time soldiers with reservists was a bad idea as a "very well trained, professional service" needed to be maintained.
He told the British Forces Broadcasting Service, "My greatest anxiety ... is that these defence cuts need to be done with far, far greater sensitivity because we live still in a world that is very fragile and there are people out there still, wanting to do harm to ... many, many people".
"To replace professionally-trained, full-time serving soldiers with part-timers, I'm afraid, for me, I don't think that can be the backbone of the British Army," the Archbishop continued.
He also paid tribute to the British forces' role as peacekeepers in Afghanistan, calling them "the bravest of the brave", and said he prayed daily for them.
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The Archbishop of York, has missed out on becoming the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
Dr Rowan Williams has been in the position as head of the Church of England for 10 years, but steps down at the end of December.
Dr John Sentamu had been a contender for the role, but the Bishop of Durham, Right Reverend Justin Welby, is expected to be confirmed later.
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