About Anglicanism

Anglicanism is a denomination of the Christian religion. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth, a first-century Jewish preacher in Palestine, was in fact God personified. (If you are completely new to Christianity, you can learn more about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith at http://www.rejesus.co.uk.)  There are more than two billion Christians worldwide. Three major branches of Christianity are the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church and the various churches of Protestantism. Anglicans are part of the Protestant branch.

Anglicanism originated in England, where it is called the Church of England. The Church of England became independent from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation in the 16th century. For more details on the history of the Church of England, see An ancient church, catholic and reformed on the website for the Church of England.

Anglicanism developed and spread outside England in two stages. Beginning in the 17th century, Anglicanism was established alongside colonization in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. For more information about the history of the Anglican Church in Canada, read A Brief History on the website for the Anglican Church of Canada. The second stage began in the eighteenth century, when missionaries worked to establish Anglican churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Anglicans worldwide have common beliefs, practices, and ways of worship, which are expressed locally in a wide variety of languages and customs. The whole Anglican family worldwide has more than 70 million members in 164 countries, and is known as the Anglican Communion. The parishes, dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion are interdependent, supporting each other by sharing financial and other resources. While each national or regional church within the Communion is autonomous, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual head and the chief sign of its unity.

Do you have more questions about Anglicanism or Christianity in general? Your local parish priest will be happy to tell you more. Find a parish near you in our Find a Church/Cleric section.