I want to play a heavily armored melee oriented holy warrior

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Can a cleric fill this role or is a paladin a better choice?
the cleric, in the last few years, got access to something called Battle Cleric's Lore.  It's an alternative choice to Healer's Lore.  What this does is give you Scale armor proficiency for free, a bonus to accuracy for those you heal AND gives you a magical shield bonus.  So yes, a cleric can fill in the role of a heavily armored front line holy warrior. 

What I would do is look at what the party needs.  Does it need a Defender ?  If yes, then play a Paladin since you get your front line holy warrior stuff with all the Defender mechanics that your party needs.

If you need a Leader for your group, then as mentioned above, the cleric is perfectly capable of doing front line holy warrior stuff while healing, buffing, etc..

If you need a Striker, you can play an Avenger.  They work perfectly fine as a front line holy warrior and have good AC with the feat unamored agility to help patch it up a bit.  They make very powerful damage dealers if that's what you need.

Hope this helps.
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There is also Blackguard as a striker option.


 


There is also Fighter, and just throw a lot of religious zeal into your actions.


 


There are also hybrid options, Cleric AND Paladin :P


 Going hybrid cleric is a pretty good way to tack a bit of "holy warrior" onto basically anything melee-oriented, particularly fighter or ranger, since they can get some good use out of a high wisdom...
 (The DM may or may not allow the hybrid cleric to swap out Healing Lore for Battle Cleric's Lore, but if they do it's a great thing to go for.)

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