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Russell Crowe meets Archbishop of Canterbury

Russell Crowe with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.

The Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed actor Russell Crowe to Lambeth Palace today - even though his latest film has prompted anger and cries of blasphemy from some religious groups.

Justin Welby held a short private meeting with the Australian star, who is in London to promote his film Noah, based on the biblical story in which he plays the title role.

The office for the Archbishop said the two men discussed faith and spirituality in their meeting, which came after the film's London premiere on Monday evening.

Earlier: Russell Crowe turned down for meeting with the Pope over Noah movie

Pictures: Stars on red carpet for Noah premiere

Archbishop urges people to 'try and change the world'

The Archbishop of Canterbury has urged people to adopt a New Year's resolution of tackling poverty in their own neighbourhoods.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said in his first New Year message as head of the Church of England that many people were "struggling" in spite of many signs of hope.

Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby makes his first New Year message as head of the Church.
Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby makes his first New Year message as head of the Church. Credit: Pool

The Archbishop said: "I want to suggest this year that each of us makes a resolution to try and change the world a bit where we are.

"Nelson Mandela said that dealing with poverty is not an act of charity, it's an act of justice, he said every generation has the chance to be a great generation and we can be that great generation."

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Welby: Middle East Christians 'under attack'

Archbishop Welby said Christian communities in the Middle East were being "attacked and massacred" in his first Christmas sermon:

Today, singing of Bethlehem, we see injustices in Palestine and Israel, where land is taken or rockets are fired, and the innocent suffer.

We see injustice in the ever more seriously threatened Christian communities of the Middle East.

They are attacked and massacred, driven into exile from a region in which their presence has always been essential.

– Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop highlights injustice in first Christmas sermon

Justin Welby called on Christians to "challenge the causes of poverty". Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has used his first Christmas Day sermon to highlight the "injustices" facing Britain's poor and victims of conflicts around the world.

The Most Rev Justin Welby called on Christians to "challenge the causes of poverty" despite signs of an economic recovery in the UK, as he addressed the congregation at Canterbury Cathedral.

Welby posts Christmas video message on Instagram

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Justin Welby.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Justin Welby. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Archbishop of Canterbury has posted a Christmas video message on Instagram.

The Most Rev Justin Welby appears in the short clip on the photo-sharing website as part of the Church of England's social media campaign called Christmasmeans.

Mr Welby, who has more than 48,000 followers on Twitter, joined Instagram in October in his drive to spread the Christian message to the app's 150 million users worldwide.

In his Christmas message, the Archbishop says: "Christmas means that, through Jesus, God shows unconditionally that he loves us. I pray that he gives you a very blessed Christmas."

The video, posted on Lambeth Palace's Instagram account, is also being tweeted by the Archbishop and through the Lambeth Palace Twitter page, lambethpalace.

Read: Miliband praises Christmas workers in message

Archbishop: 'South Africa has lost its father'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, said:

The death of President Nelson Mandela was announced in memorable words by President Zuma.

South Africa has lost its greatest citizen and its father.

Nelson Mandela, fighting to the end, is freed to be with his God in joy and reward for his great service and sacrifice.

We pray for his family, for his friends and for his country.

We are challenged to show the same degree of humanity, of courage and of generosity.

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Reactions to Archbishop's Christmas spending message

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's statement that a spending culture at Christmas is making people "miserable" has sparked public reaction on Facebook.

Justin Welby
Justin Welby told ITV's Martin Lewis that overspending at Christmas was risking people's relationships. Credit: PA

Writing on the social networking site, Laurie Turner said: "I can't see the point of getting into debt just for one day. If you haven't the money, don't buy it."

Jackie Perry blamed advertising: "What do you expect when children and adults alike are bombarded with media hype and having Christmas adverts rammed down their throats from October."

But Nicola Bulloc said: "I am on a low wage but I always manage to buy all the presents and bits without getting in debt."

To add your voice and let us know your views, comment on the ITV News Facebook page.

Prince George to be christened in Chapel Royal

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with Prince George. Credit: PA Wire

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's son Prince George will be christened later in front of close family and friends of his parents.

The three-month-old baby, who will one day be king, will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, in the little known Chapel Royal at St James's Palace this afternoon.

Read: Prince George's christening to be held in historic Chapel Royal

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are expected to be at the ceremony along with the Prince of Wales, who has become a grandfather for the first time, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.

Kate's family - parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James - are thought to be invited, along with the godparents who, like the guests, have not been publicly named.

Archbishop hopes George's baptism inspires

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he hoped that people would not view baptism as only for a future king or "special people."

Of course, the great good news is that God doesn't care who we are. It's for adults and children. And there may be people wondering: 'I wonder if that's at all possible for me or for my family or for my child or for all of us together?' And the answer is it's not just possible, it's extremely easy.

God's love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people in all circumstances always.

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