BISHOPS wearing futuristic body suits are locked in deadly combat beneath Gloucester cathedral.
Dr Rowan Williams’s retirement has triggered the traditional, violent archbishop selection battle known as the Game of God.
Under the strict conventions of the game, Bishops wearing tight-fitting overalls are released into the bewildering network of tunnels beneath Gloucester cathedral. The only rule is ‘no surrender’, with the coveted church boss title going to the last surviving senior cleric.
The initial phase is a race to find the weapons, food and crucifix-branded medical packs scattered throughout the tunnels. There is also a limited number of bibles, which can be used for spiritual sustenance or to hit other bishops over the head with.
The Bishop of Durham has already been shot through the liver with a crossbow, while the Bishop of Carlisle has been garrotted.
A C of E spokesman, watching the deadly game unfold via video cameras hidden in gargoyles, said: “The Bishop of London and the Bishop of Coventry have formed an alliance based on London having a box of protein biscuits and Coventry carrying a big crossbow.
“The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, is hiding in an alcove with a samurai sword. Unfortunately though he’s a bit wheezy, which is rather giving the game away.
“My money’s on the Bishop of Norwich, who has physical stamina, excellent tactics and a harpoon gun.
“Overall, this is a real tough bunch of bishops.”
The Bishops have 48 hours to kill each other, after which the catacombs begin to fill up with water and the focus switches to who has the best lung capacity.
The spokesman said: “It may seem old-fashioned to some, but they’re all here voluntarily. When you play the Game of God there can be only one winner.
“I love saying that.”