The Anglican Communion is a confederation of national churches, each considered independent, yet sharing Full Communion with one another and the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the spiritual (although not administrative) head of the Communion. The Anglican Communion maintains the traditional three-fold hierarchy of clergy: Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In some member churches, women have been admitted to one or more of these orders, whereas some member churches have maintained an all-male clergy. Beyond the three-fold order, though the administration and leadership of each national church is decided by that particular church. In the Church of England, for example, the Queen appoints Bishops. In the Episcopal Church (USA), on the other hand, bishops are elected by diocese and then confirmed by the House of Bishops.
Of particular interest to Orthodox inquirers is the current Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Reverend and Right Honorable Rowan Williams, formerly Archbishop of Wales. Dr. Williams, an academic, has written two books on the spirituality of iconography ("The Dwelling of the Light: Praying With Icons of Christ" and "Ponder These Things: Praying With Icons of the Virgin") and did his doctoral thesis on the theology of Orthodox theologian Vladimir Lossky.
Other major thinkers to come out of the Anglican Communion have been reformers John and Charles Wesley, convert to Roman Catholicism Cardinal John Henry Newman, social activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and authors Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis.
The national churches below are all self-governing members of the Anglican Communion. There are Anglicans in other countries, however. In these cases, the parishes are under the jurisdiction of one of the national churches. The "Primates" (head bishops) of each national church meet periodically to discuss matters of faith and discipline. In addition, every 10 years (1988, 1998, etc.) the Anglican bishops from around the world are gathered to Lambeth Palace (home of the Archbishop of Canterbury) for the "Lambeth Conference." The decisions of the Lambeth Conference are seen as advisory, not binding, on the member churches.
(This list is not exhaustive)
- The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
- The Anglican Church of Australia
- A Igreja Episcopal do Brasil
- The Church of the Province of Burundi
- The Anglican Church of Canada
- The Episcopal Church of Cuba
- The Church of England
- Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui
- The Church of North India
- The Church of South India
- The Church of Ireland
- Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Holy Catholic Church in Japan)
- The Anglican Church of Kenya
- The Anglican Church of Korea
- La Iglesia Anglicana de México
- The Church of the Province of Myanmar
- The Church of the Province of Nigeria
- The Church of Pakistan
- The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
- The Philippine Episcopal Church
- The Lusitanian Church of Portugal
- The Province of the Episcopal Church of Rwanda
- The Scottish Episcopal Church
- The Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church
- The Church of Sri Lanka
- The Episcopal Church of the Sudan
- The Church of the Province of Tanzania
- The Church of the Province of Uganda
- The Episcopal Church in the United States of America
- The Church in Wales
Several times throughout the history of Anglicanism, there have been movements which led to schism. The various resulting bodies have maintained their Anglican heritage to differing degrees. Among these groups are the various Methodist churches, the Reformed Episcopal Church, the Anglican Catholic Church and the Anglican Church in America.
Movements Within Anglicanism
Relationship with Orthodox Christians
Current Issues Within Anglicanism