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Cleaning the church in the evening, on one of the seats I've found a strange envelope, which happened to be addressed to me. It was labeled as "Important religious question". Intrigued, I unlocked an envelope, only to find some strange number sequence inside.

01311311083208990382645313110867431311511089878131151?

I believe, the question is of utter importance. Probably, even heretical, as the author decided to use a cipher. But what can a poor priest do in such situation?

What's worse -- even if I found out the answer I'd still have to find the author to tell him the answer. Judging by the place where I've found the letter, there were five candidates on having written it:

Herbert Oldy-Moldy, local farmer.
Teresa Ascot-Aspen, local egg-dealer
Riley Fiddle-Diddle, popular writer on vacation
Angus Lonley-Lockly, my right-hand-man at church
Nicholas Blood-n-Guts, local butcher.

(I made it a spoiler, because it does not help to decrypt the message).

Thus, I'm in need of:

  • An answer to encrypted question.

  • A person, who is certain to have asked it.

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  • $\begingroup$ By saying the spoiler "contains no helpful information", does this mean the answer will be obtainable entirely without it? $\endgroup$ – Austin Weaver Apr 11 '18 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ My bad. It doesn't help decrypting the message (as you've already made sure of), however it's a list of names. Consider it unveiled since you've decoded the message. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Blue Apr 11 '18 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ I'am not clear with your question. Can I ask some questions? What the meaning of Judging by the place where I've found the letter, there were five candidates on having written it? Since you found that envelope in Church with no one. What's the reason you judge those people? Are there only 6 villagers including you? $\endgroup$ – nathoenk Apr 18 '18 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ I meant the exact place, making the people sitting in the close vicinity main suspects. Now that the puzzle is solved I can with certainty state that my assumption was true. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Blue Apr 19 '18 at 18:32
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Complete Answer:

The numbers are, when replaced with letters and evaluated with quipqiup, a message:
"is assassinating giant fleas as sinful as assessing nuns asses?"
This definitely fits the "important religious question" and "even heretical" parts, but I have no idea who may have written such a thing.

new and better guess (inspired by M Oehm's answer):

The "Stale Fungi" thing refers to, of course, Mr. Herbert Oldy-Moldy. Surely you can help him with his moral quandaries.

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  • $\begingroup$ The question might have been solely hypothetical. The hint you need can be found without using the list and applied afterwards. $\endgroup$ – Thomas Blue Apr 11 '18 at 23:40
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    $\begingroup$ Oh! How could I fail to see that? $\endgroup$ – M Oehm Apr 19 '18 at 5:20
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Another partial answer. Austin Weaver has found that ...

... the message reads: Is assassinating giant fleas as sinful as assessing nuns asses? I think the answer does not lie in the question itself, but in the cipher.

The question uses only 10 letters of the alphabet, encoded as decimal digits:

12345 67890
stale fungi
The alphabet key clearly says stale fungi. I'm not quite sure what to do now, but I think the solution is to rephrase "stale fungi", so that it forms a word. At the moment, I can only come up with "dry ceps", which would give triceps, but that doesn't fit well with the overall theme of church and religion and it doesn't identify its author. Hm.

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Building on Austin Weaver's work I think the person may be

Teresa Ascot-Aspen

Because of

the repeated 'as' and 'es' letter combinations in the decrypted text and in the name.

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