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Surfers will soon be protected by a higher force as the Pope readies himself to name the patron saint of the Internet and computer programmers.

The hot favourite is St Isadore of Seville. He may have lived 1,400 years before the Net was even dreamt of, but some Spanish Catholics have already named this holy man has the Web's 'protector'.

St. Isadore is credited with creating the world's first encyclopaedia -'Etymologia' - a 20-volume read on subjects as diverse as art, maths, medicine, history, war and literature.

But he's up against tough competition: Saint Paul, Saint Anthony of Padua (who many Catholics turn to when they have lost something), and even the Archangel Gabriel are also reported to be in the running for Patron Saintship

In ever so slightly related news, a Washington man has been thrown off eBay after he was caught trying to sell his soul. Adam Burtle advertised his "near mint condition, with only minor scratches" soul on the auction site, managing to net a $400 offer from a woman in Des Moines, Iowa.

Burtle says the stunt was not meant to be taken seriously, but eBay officials were not amused and promptly suspended him from the site, AP reports. ®

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