Archbishop of Canterbury

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The Archbishop of Canterbury is "the primate of all England" within the Church of England and the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion. His see is at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, England and his residence is Lambeth Palace in London.

Contents

The current archbishop

The current Archbishop of Canterbury is the Right Honorable and Most Reverend Justin Welby, 105th holder of the Chair of St. Augustine of Canterbury.

The previous archbishop

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Wales on June 14, 1950. He studied theology at Christ's College of Cambridge University where he doctoral work on the Russian Orthodox Church and particularly the thought of Vladimir Lossky. For some years he was a professor of theology at Oxford University. In 1992 he was elevated to Anglican Bishop of Monmouth, and then in 2000 he was made Anglican Archbishop of Wales. In 2002 he was elevated to Archbishop of Canterbury, from which he retired in 2012.

A prolific writer, Dr. Williams has published books in theology, spirituality, Christian history and poetry. Of particular interest to Orthodox Christians might be two books of meditations on icons, entitled The Dwelling of the Light: Praying With Icons of Christ (ISBN 0802827780) and Ponder These Things: Praying With Icons of the Virgin (ISBN 1580511244). He is also the editor of the book Sergii Bulgakov: Towards a Russian Political Theology (ISBN 056708650X).

History

Christianity reached England by the middle of the second century. As St. Bede relates in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, in 156 a British King by the name of Lucius wrote to Eleutherus, bishop of Rome, asking to be made a Christian. (Bk 1, Chap 4) With the work of missionaries throughout the first few centuries AD, Christianity spread and took root.

In 596 Pope Gregory the Great decided to send a mission to the Anglo-Saxons in the British Isles. He chose a to send a group of Benedictine monks, under the leadership of St. Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with Augustine of Hippo). Augustine and his fellow monks arrived in Kent in 597 and eventually a see city was set up in Canterbury, Augustine being the first Archbishop. It is said that that when they arrived they were "carrying a silver cross and an image of Jesus Christ painted on a board, which thus became, so far as we know, 'Canterbury's first icon.'" (Lesser Feasts and Fasts, p. 252)

With Augustine and those who came after him, the British Isles were slowly put under the authority of the Church of Rome. As with the rest of the Western Church, this authority increased over the next 500 years.

Up until the time of the Anglican Reformation, the Archbishop of Canterbury was an appointee of the Bishop of Rome. Thus, at the time of the Great Schism the Church in England went along with the Western side of the break, accepting Papal supremacy and the Filioque.

In the 16th century, England, influenced both by political factors and the Continental Reformation, broke away from Rome and became an independent Church. Thus, the list of successive Archbishops of Canterbury, can be categorized according to three groups: Orthodox Archbishops, Roman Catholic Archbishops and Reformation Archbishops (see below).

Archbishops of Canterbury throughout history

Orthodox Archbishops of Canterbury

Roman Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury

  • 35. Lanfranc, 1070-1089
  • 36. Anselm, 1093-1109
  • 37. Ralph d'Escures, 1114-1122
  • 38. William de Corbeil, 1123-1136
  • 39. Theobald, 1139-1161
  • 40. Thomas a Becket, 1162-1170
  • 41. Richard of Dover, 1174-1184
  • 42. Baldwin, 1185-1190
  • 43. Hubert Walter, 1193-
  • 44. Stephen Langton, 1207-1228
  • 45. Richard le Grant, 1229-1231
  • 46. Edmund of Abingdon, 1233-1240
  • 47. Boniface of Savoy, 1245-1270
  • 48. Robert Kilwardby, 1273-1278
  • 49. John Peckham, 1279-1292
  • 50. Robert Winchelsey, 1293-1313
  • 51. Walter Reynolds, 1313-1327
  • 52. Simon Meopham, 1327-1333
  • 53. John de Stratford, 1333-1348
  • 54. Simon Islip, 1349
  • 55. Thomas Bradwardine, 1349
  • 54. Simon Islip,1349-1366
  • 56. Simon Langham, 1366-1368
  • 57. William Whittlesey, 1368-1374
  • 58. Simon Sudbury, 1375-1381
  • 59. William Courtenay, 1381-1396
  • 60. Thomas Arundel, 1396-1398
  • 61. Roger Walden, 1398-
  • 60. Thomas Arundel (restored), 1399-
  • 62. Henry Chichele, 1414-1443
  • 63. John Stafford, 1443-1452
  • 64. John Kempe, 1452-1454
  • 65. Thomas Bourchier, 1454-1486
  • 66. John Morton, 1486-1500
  • 67. Henry Deane, 1501-1503
  • 68. William Warham, 1503-1532

Post-Reformation Archbishops of Canterbury

  • 69. Thomas Cranmer, 1553-1556
  • 70. Reginald Pole, 1556-1558
  • 71. Matthew Parker, 1559-1575
  • 72. Edmund Grindal, 1575-1583
  • 73. John Whitgift, 1583-1604
  • 74. Richard Bancroft, 1604-1610
  • 75. George Abbot, 1611-1633
  • 76. William Laud, 1633-1645
  • 77. William Juxon, 1660-1663
  • 78. Gilbert Sheldon, 1663-1677
  • 79. William Sancroft, 1678-1691
  • 80. John Tillotson, 1691-1694
  • 81. Thomas Tenison, 1694-1715
  • 82. William Wake, 1716-1737
  • 83. John Potter, 1737-1747
  • 84. Thomas Herring, 1747-1757
  • 85. Matthew Hutton, 1757-1758
  • 86. Thomas Secker, 1758-1768
  • 87. Frederick Cornwallis, 1768-1783
  • 88. John Moore, 1783-1805
  • 89. Charles Manners-Sutton, 1805-1828
  • 90. William Howley, 1828-1848
  • 91. John Bird Sumner, 1848-1862
  • 92. Charles Thomas Longley, 1862-1868
  • 93. Archibald Campbell Tait, 1868-1882
  • 94. Edward White Benson, 1882-1896
  • 95. Frederick Temple, 1896-1902
  • 96. Randall Thomas Davidson, 1903-1928
  • 97. William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1928-1942
  • 98. William Temple, 1942-1944
  • 99. Geoffrey Francis Fisher, 1945-1961
  • 100. Arthur Michael Ramsey, 1961-1974
  • 101. Frederick Donald Coggan, 1974-1980
  • 102. Robert Alexander Kennedy Runcie, 1980-1991
  • 103. George Leonard Carey, 1991-2001
  • 104. Rowan Douglas Williams, 2002-2012
  • 105. Justin Welby, 2013-

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