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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 14:20 GMT
Retired archbishop dies aged 78
Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville
Archbishop Maurice was the seventh person to hold the title
A former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham has died aged 78, the city's archdiocese has said.

The Most Rev Maurice Couve de Murville died peacefully in St Joseph's Nursing Home in Littlehampton, West Sussex, at about 0615 GMT on Saturday.

Archbishop Maurice was the seventh person to hold the title, from 1982 to 1999, and retired due to ill health.

He was born in France and his cousin, who shared his name, was prime minister of France from 1968 to 1969.

One of Archbishop Maurice's first engagements in the job was to welcome Pope John Paul II to Coventry Airport in 1982 during his visit to Britain.

'Dignity and calm'

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, said: "The Archdiocese of Birmingham will be at prayer for their late Archbishop Maurice. He was much loved by so many who admired his achievements and his humour.

"Characteristically he bore his last illness with dignity and calm, with his strong faith and trust in the Lord so much to the fore."

The archdiocese covers Birmingham, the Black Country, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and parts of Berkshire.

The archbishop dealt with some of the first child abuse cases within the Catholic church, an archdiocese spokesman said.

The spokesman added: "Dealing with these events, which inflicted so much harm on their victims, caused him great distress."

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