THERE is nothing like a cute animal to bring in the entries. Many readers had a go at our last caption competition, featuring the Russian Patriarch with a Welsh corgi puppy he had just been given.
Entries were many and varied: “The Archbishop had just offered remission of sins and eternal salvation when the Patriarch decided to up the ante” (George Frost); “Brexit meant that the three Wise Men could manage only one present between them” (Eric Lishman); “From Russia with puppy love” (Richard Barnes); and “President Putin wanted us to sell the Church of England a pup” (M. J. Leppard).
You can’t keep a bad pun down: “So you see, your Grace, in Russia even our pets are Orthodogs” (John Saxbee); “A gift for the Orthodogs Church” (Richard Barnes); and “Archbishop Justin wasn’t expecting such an unorthodogs present” (Michael Foster).
Thank you to our less excitable readers: “It’s not an orthodox gift, but we thought you’d like it” (Vivien Moores); and ”Proof of pedigree for the puppy was unnecessary, as it was obviously orthodox” (Richard Hough).
A few at random: ”These ecumenical meetings always went the same way, everyone sitting around comparing their church dogma” (George Frost); ”The Doge couldn’t come, but . . .” (Eric Lishman); “So this is how you Primates continue to walkies together” (Richard Barnes); and ”Magician, you say?’’ (Peter Walker).
Also: “He’s attractive, house-trained, with a fine pedigree and no bite. A perfect gift for the Church of England” (Patrick Irwin); “The dog was, of course, a cross-breed” (Chris Coupe); and “The meeting was on 11 November, a day on which their advisers told them that everyone in England should be seen with a puppy” (Ray Morris).
Seldom do church leaders meet formally without some reference to what they wear on their heads: “They were concerned by the Archbishop’s bareheadedness, but had found just the right thing — once they’d removed the dog” (Alison Rollin)
A few more at random: “‘Nice one, Kyrill,’ the Archbishop said, as the Patriarch produced a canine from his hatbox” (Derek Hollis) “Tom and Justin wondered what line the Metropolitan was taking” (Bridget Swan); “The Archbishop tried desperately to remember the Russian for ‘quarantine’” (Patrick Irwin); and “There had been a slight mix-up with the translation: the Archbishop had wanted to discuss their mutual love of God” (George Frost).
There were many strong entries, among them: “Archbishop Andreix planned to be soft and strong” (Tom Page); “The delegates were just in time, the dog was just in case, and the Archbishop was . . . well, Just-in” (Alison Rollin); and “So that’s three Indian, two Chinese, four pizzas, and . . . who ordered the Korean takeaway?” (George Frost).
Three entries will receive a prize of Fairtrade chocolate courtesy of Divine (divinechocolate.com)