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Portal:Anglicanism

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A map showing the provinces of the Anglican Communion (blue). Also shown are the churches in full communion with the Anglicans: The churches of the Porvoo Communion (green) and the Union of Utrecht (red)

Anglicanism most commonly refers to the beliefs and practices of the Anglican Communion, a worldwide affiliation of Christian churches. There is no single "Anglican Church" with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy. As the name suggests, the communion is an association of churches in full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. With an estimated 80 million members, the Anglican Communion is the third largest communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Anglicanism, in its structures, theology and forms of worship, is understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism and, as such, is often referred to as being a via media ("middle way") between these traditions. Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. In practice Anglicans believe this is revealed in Holy Scripture and the creeds and interpret these in light of Christian tradition, scholarship, reason and experience.

One definition of the Anglican Communion is: "The 1930 Lambeth Conference described the Anglican Communion as a 'fellowship, within the one holy catholic and apostolic church, of those duly constituted dioceses, provinces or regional churches in communion with the see of Canterbury.'" - Colin Buchanan, Historical Dictionary of Anglicanism

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Arms of a bishop marshalled with those of the diocese (left shield) and spouse (right shield)
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. Institutions such as schools and dioceses bear arms called impersonal or corporate arms. Ecclesiastical heraldry differs notably from other heraldry in the use of special symbols around the shield. The most prominent of these symbols is the ecclesiastical hat. The color and ornamentation of this hat carry indications of rank. Clergy of the Church of England who are not bishops historically bore arms identical to a layman, with a shield, helm and crest, and no ecclesiastical hat. In 1976 a system for deans and canons was authorized by the College of Arms for deans, archdeacons and canons, allowing a black ecclesiastical hat, black or violet cords, and three violet or red tassels on each side. A priest uses a black and white cord with a single tassel on each side, and a deacon a hat without tassels. A Doctor of Divinity may have cords interwoven with red and a hat appropriate to the degree, and members of the Ecclesiastical Household add a Tudor rose on the front of the hat. Other symbols include the cross, the mitre and the crosier.

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Church of St. Andrew, Alfriston, England Crop - May 2009.jpg
Credit: David Iliff

St Andrew's Church is the parish church of Alfriston, East Sussex, England. It was built in 1360, and is also known as the 'Cathedral of the South Downs'. Located on the River Cuckmere, it is adjacent to the Alfriston Clergy House, owned by the National Trust.

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Print of the Priestley Riots

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Augustine of Canterbury
Augustine of Canterbury (died 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 598. He is considered the "Apostle to the English", and a founder of the English Church. Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission to Britain to convert the pagan King Æthelberht of Kent to Christianity. Æthelberht allowed the missionaries to preach freely and converted to Christianity, giving the missionaries land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English, and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman Catholic bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. Augustine died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint. The authority of the Roman Catholic Church over the Church of England remained in place for ten centuries, until the latter broke away in the 16th century during the English Reformation.

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