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A map showing the provinces of the Anglican Communion (blue). Also shown are the churches in full communion with the Anglicans: The churches of the Porvoo Communion (green) and the Union of Utrecht (red)

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation.

Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans". The majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares (Latin, "first among equals"). He calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, and is the president of the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognised by the Anglican Communion also call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment.

Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession ("historic episcopate"), and the writings of the Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Protestantism. These reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism.

In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed". The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries. The Book is acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church.

After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia, and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches; as also that of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which, though originating earlier within the Church of Scotland, had come to be recognised as sharing this common identity.

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Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of the established Church of England and, symbolically, of the worldwide Anglican Communion. From the time of St Augustine until the 16th century, the Archbishops of Canterbury were in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. During the English Reformation the church broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, at first temporarily and later more permanently. Since then they have been outside of the succession of the Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy and have led the independent national church.

In the middle ages there was considerable variation in the nomination of the Archbishop and other bishops — at various times the choice was made by the canons of Canterbury Cathedral, the King of England, or the Pope. Since the reformation, the church is explicitly a state church and the choice is legally that of the British crown; today it is made in the name of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom by the Prime Minister, from a shortlist of two selected by an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

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Robert Catesby, unknown artist, 1794
Robert Catesby (b. in or after 1572 – 8 November 1605), was the leader of a group of provincial English Roman Catholics who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

James I was less tolerant of Roman Catholicism than its followers had hoped, and Catesby therefore planned to kill the king by blowing up the House of Lords with gunpowder, the prelude to a popular revolt against the Anglican government during which a Roman Catholic monarch would be restored to the English throne. Early in 1604 he began to recruit other Roman Catholics to his cause, including Thomas Wintour, John Wright, Thomas Percy, and Guy Fawkes. Described variously as a charismatic and influential man, as well as a religious zealot, over the following months he helped bring a further eight conspirators into the plot, whose naissance was planned for 5 November 1605. A letter sent anonymously to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, alerted the authorities, and on the eve of the planned explosion, during a search of Parliament, Fawkes was found guarding the barrels of gunpowder. News of his arrest caused the other plotters to flee London, warning Catesby along their way. With his diminished group of followers, Catesby made a stand at Holbeche House in Staffordshire, against a 200-strong company of armed men. He was shot, and later found dead, clutching a picture of the Virgin Mary. As a warning to others, his body was exhumed and his head exhibited outside Parliament.

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