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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 most commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide affiliation of Christian churches. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy. As the name suggests, the communion is an association of churches in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. With an estimated 80 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Anglicanism, in its structures, theology and forms of worship, is understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and, as such, is often referred to as being a via media ("middle way") between these traditions. Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In practice Anglicans believe this is revealed in Holy Scripture and the creeds and interpret these in light of Christian tradition, scholarship, reason and experience.

One definition of the Anglican Communion is: "The 1930 Lambeth Conference described the Anglican Communion as a 'fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury.'" - Colin Buchanan, Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism

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South wall of St Thomas the Martyr
St Thomas the Martyr's is a Church of England church of the Anglo-Catholic tradition, in Oxford, England, near Oxford railway station in Osney. The church was founded in the 12th century, dedicated to St Thomas Becket. The building still retains some of its original architecture, although substantial expansions and repairs have been made, particularly in the seventeenth century (under the curacy of Robert Burton) and in the nineteenth century.

The church played a significant role in the early stages of the Oxford Movement, being the site of daily services as well as such ritualist practices as altar candles and the wearing of Eucharistic vestments. The leaders of the Oxford Movement preached at the church and the early Tractarians were closely associated with St Thomas's. A candelabrum given by Ann Kendall in 1705 hangs in the chancel. The chancel ceiling was decorated with a pattern of gold stars on a blue background in 1914. Two years later, an altar was erected at the east end of the north aisle, and an aumbry placed in the north wall of the chancel. The royal arms of William IV are on display in the tower.

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Darwin restored2.jpg
Credit: Bain News Service, publisher.

Charles Darwin's views on religion have been the subject of much interest. Even later in life, Darwin continued to play a leading part in the parish work of his local Anglican church. In 1879 he stated that he had never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God, and that generally "an Agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind."

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Edington Priory

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Godfrey Kneller, 1684
James II (14 October 1633 – 16 September 1701) was King of England, King of Scots, and King of Ireland from 6 February 1685 to 11 December 1688. He was the last Roman Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of Scotland, England, and Ireland. Many of his subjects distrusted his religious policies and autocratic tendencies, leading a group of them to move against him in the Glorious Revolution in 1688. James fled the country. James made one serious attempt to recover his crowns, when he landed in Ireland in 1689. After his defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in the summer of 1690, James returned to France.

James is best known for his belief in absolute monarchy and his attempts to create religious liberty for his subjects. Both of these went against the wishes of the English Parliament and of most of his subjects. Parliament, opposed to the growth of absolutism that was occurring in other European countries, as well as to the loss of legal supremacy for the Church of England, saw their opposition as a way to preserve traditional English liberties. This tension made James's three-year reign a struggle for supremacy between the Parliament and the crown, resulting in his ouster, the passage of the English Bill of Rights, and the Hanoverian succession.

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