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Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is a world-wide organisation of Anglican Churches. There is no single "Anglican Church"; it is better to speak of the Anglican Communion, which consists of national churches in communion with the Church of England. Most share the dogma and doctrine of the Church of England.

As a result, all rites conducted in one member church are to be recognized by the others. Some of these churches are known as Anglican, others call themselves Episcopal. The ultimate head of any Anglican church is believed to be Jesus Christ, with his representative taken to be the Primate, head of the church at the national level; but Anglican primates acknowledge the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury as primus inter pares, or "first among equals". The Archbishop of Canterbury is a symbolic leader among Anglicans, with no authority outside England and cannot be accurately compared to other religious leaders such as the pope.

Some non-Anglican churches have entered into full communion with the Anglican Communion and are treated as members despite having non-Anglican origins and traditions. There are also a number of Anglican bodies which separated from a member church of the Anglican Communion and are no longer in communion with the Church of England. They are usually known as "continuing churches."

Recent disagreements over the church's views concerning homosexuality have strained the unity of the communion as well as its relationships with other Christian denominations; see Anglican views of homosexuality.

"The Episcopal [or Anglican] Church has a long tradition, and over that time has inherited, created, or retained many words that might not be familiar...These special terms, though confusing at first, are part of [the church's] rich heritage."

Efforts have been underway at least since 1966 to effect a reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church, focusing on theological issues [1] and ways "to further the convergence on authority in the Church. Without agreement in this area we shall not reach the full visible unity to which we are both committed." [2]


Churches of the Anglican Communion

Churches in full communion

Continuing Anglican Churches (partial list)

  • Anglican Catholic Church
  • Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
  • Anglican Church in America
  • Anglican Province of Christ the King
  • Church of England (Continuing)
  • Church of England in South Africa
  • Episcopal Missionary Church
  • United Episcopal Church of North America

Related topic

External links

Last updated: 12-15-2004 11:39:50