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Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will take a three-month sabbatical next year, studying in either Cambridge or the United States.

Lambeth Palace, the London home of the archbishop, said it was "normal practice" for archbishops to take time off from official duties.

Mr Welby is expected to be away from May to July 2021.

He will use his time off for "reflection, prayer, and spiritual renewal", the palace added.

The planned leave was announced at the Canterbury Diocesan Synod on Saturday.

Lambeth Palace said Mr Welby will be in regular contact with his staff while away.

He is expected to resume his official duties in September 2021.

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Mr Welby's sabbatical was due to begin following the Lambeth Conference this year, but it was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the clergy are able to apply for a sabbatical every seven to 10 years.

Mr Welby, appointed to his role in 2013, last took a period of leave in 2005.

He is not the first Archbishop of Canterbury to take a sabbatical.

His predecessor, Rowan Williams, took a three-month sabbatical in 2007 and Lord George Carey took two months off in 1997.

Meanwhile, Mr Welby has warned Boris Johnson against cutting the UK's overseas aid budget from 0.7% GDP to 0.5%.

The government wants to cut £4bn from the overseas budget – a move critics say will cost lives in some of the world's poorest nations.

"Keeping our aid commitment is a strong signal that the UK is a reliable partner for long-term economic, social, environmental and educational advancement across the globe," the Archbishop said.