The canon chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral has resigned from his post.Dr Giles Fraser has been sympathetic to the Occupy anti-capitalist protest camp outside, which has led to the cathedral's closure.
Dr Fraser said on Twitter: "It is with great regret and sadness that I have handed in my notice at St Paul's Cathedral."
The Dean of St Paul's, the Right Reverend Graeme Knowles, said he was "sorry to see him go".
St Paul's, which closed last week, could reopen to the public on Friday. A decision will be made later.
Differences over the handling of the protest are thought to have prompted Dr Fraser's decision, says the BBC's religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott.
The cathedral was shut over fears of "significant issues" with health and safety concerning the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) camp.
'Unique contribution' Dr Fraser, who was a former vicar of Putney, had taken up the cathedral post, a Crown appointment, in 2009.
Following the resignation, Mr Knowles said: "Giles has brought a unique contribution to the life and ministry of St Paul's.
"He has developed the work of the St Paul's Institute and has raised the profile of our work in the City.
"We are obviously disappointed that he is not able to continue to his work with Chapter during these challenging days.
"We will miss his humour and humanity and wish Giles and his family every good wish into the future."
Ronan McNern, from OLSX, said Dr Giles was a "man of principles" and the protesters were "very grateful for the respect and support" he had shown them by defending their right to protest.
"The fact that he has resigned shows a clear split within the cathedral."
Another spokesman for the group said if Dr Fraser wanted to join the camp they would provide him with a tent.
The protesters said they were still open for dialogue.
He has refused to sanction the use of force to remove them as pressure mounts on the cathedral to join in legal action against protesters, our correspondent said.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartes, who had also called on the protesters to go, said Dr Fraser was an "important voice in the Church" and should continue to be heard.
The cathedral claims to be losing £20,000 a day since its closure.
Demonstrators, who are protesting against corporate greed and inequality, have vowed to remain at the site for several weeks.
Mr Knowles said he was optimistic the cathedral could reopen in time for the 12:30 BST Eucharist on Friday.
The City of London Corporation's planning committee is due to hear legal advice and decide whether to take court action against the demonstrators.
The OLSX said it had been reorganising the camp to facilitate the cathedral's reopening, but added the issue of legal action was "a minefield" in terms of land ownership and the rights of protesters.
taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-15472362