Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is an international association of churches consisting of the Church of England and of national and regional Anglican churches (and a few other episcopal churches) in full communion with it and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority as each national or regional church has full autonomy.

The status of full communion means, ideally, that there is mutual agreement on essential doctrines and that full participation in the sacramental life of each church is available to all communicant Anglicans.

With a membership currently estimated at over 85 million members worldwide, the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Some of these churches are known as Anglican, such as the Anglican Church of Canada, due to their historical link to England (Ecclesia Anglicana means "English Church"). Some, for example the Church of Ireland, the Scottish and American Episcopal churches, and some other associated churches have a separate name. Each church has its own doctrine and liturgy, based in most cases on that of the Church of England; and each church has its own legislative process and overall episcopal polity, under the leadership of a local primate.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, religious head of the Church of England, has no formal authority outside that jurisdiction, but is recognised as symbolic head of the worldwide communion. Among the other primates, he is considered as primus inter pares.

The Anglican Communion considers itself to be part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and to be both Catholic and Reformed. For some adherents it represents a non-papal Catholicism, for others a form of Protestantism though without a dominant guiding figure such as Luther, Knox, Calvin, Zwingli or Wesley. For others, their self-identity represents some combination of the two. The communion encompasses a wide spectrum of belief and practice including evangelical, liberal, and Catholic.

The Anglican Communion Office is headed by its Secretary General, the Reverend Canon Kenneth Kearon.

Read more about Anglican CommunionEcclesiology, Polity and Ethos, Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral, Instruments of Communion, Provinces, History, Historic Episcopate, Controversies

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