A term used to denote the religious belief and position of members of the established Church of England, and of the communicating churches in the British possessions, the United States (see EPISCOPAL CHURCH), and elsewhere. It includes those who have accepted the work of the English Reformation as embodied in the Church of England or in the offshoot Churches which in other countries have adhered, at least substantially, to its doctrines, its organization, and its liturgy. Apart from minor or missionary settlements, the area in which Anglicanism is to be found corresponds roughly with those portions of the globe which are, or were formally, under the British flag.


The Anglican Church derives its name from the word Anglican, which means “of England”. The church was formed in the 6th century at the instruction of Pope Gregory the Great. Pope Gregory sent St Augustine to England in order to deal with the Celtic Christians and organise a more disciplined apostolic succession.

At the same time the church was going head to head with the state for power and decreed in the first line of their doctrine, the Magna Carta of 1215, that the “English Church is independent of government”.

Blood was shed for over a century, with one of the most famous cases being the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas a Becket, 1170.

 The Anglican Church confronted the authority of Rome and in 1536 Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and cathedrals. Henry VIII had waged a war with the Roman Church his whole succession and when the Pope refused to grant Henry his divorce this provided the catalyst, ensuring the Anglicans split from the Roman Church.


To form a general idea of Anglicanism as a religious system, it will be convenient to sketch it in rough outline as it exists in the Established Church of England, bearing in mind that there are differences in detail, mainly in liturgy and church-government, to be found in other portions of the Anglican communion.

• The members of the Church of England are professed Christians, and claim to be baptized members of the Church of Christ.

• They accept the Scriptures as contained in the Authorized Version, as the Word of God.

• They hold the Scriptures to be the sole and supreme rule of faith, in the sense that the Scriptures contain all things necessary to salvation and that nothing can be required of anyone as an article of faith which is not contained therein, and cannot be proved thereby.

• They accept the Book of Common Prayer as the practical rule of their belief and worship, and in it they use as standards of doctrine the three Creeds—the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian.

• They believe in two sacraments of the Gospel—Baptism and the Lord's Supper —as generally necessary to salvation.

• They claim to have Apostolic succession and a validly ordained ministry, and only persons whom they believe to be thus ordained are allowed to minister in their churches.

• They believe that the Church of England is a true and reformed part, or branch, or pair of provinces of the Catholic Church of Christ.

• They maintain that the Church of England is free from all foreign jurisdictions.

• They recognize the King as Supreme Governor of the Church and acknowledge that to him "appertains the government of all estates whether civil or ecclesiastical, in all causes."

• The clergy, before being appointed to a benefice or licensed to preach, subscribe and declare that they "assent to the Thirty-nine Articles, and to the Book of Common Prayer, and of Ordering of Bishops, priests, and deacons, and believe the doctrine of the Church of England as therein set forth to be agreeable to the Word of God".

• One of the Articles (XXV) thus subscribed approves the First and Second Book of Homilies as containing "a godly and wholesome doctrine necessary for these times", and adjudges them to be read in churches "diligently and distinctly".

To these general characteristics we may add by way of corrective that while the Bible is accepted much latitude is allowed as to the nature and extent of its inspiration; that the Eucharistic teaching of the Prayer Book is subject to various and opposed interpretations; that Apostolic succession is claimed by many to be beneficial, but not essential, to the nature of the Church; that the Apostles' Creed is the only one to which assent can be required from the laity, and that Articles of Religion are held to be binding only on the licensed and beneficed clergy.

The Book of Common Prayer was introduced in 1549. It has been revised numerous times since then, the most significant revision being the first, in 1552. The Book of Common Prayer produced in 1612 provides the historical information for most Anglican liturgy. Countries from around the world, who have adapted their own prayer books, still draw from the original English version.

The Anglicans have a daily prayer which they refer to as feed. They also have a morning, day and night prayer. The Church also recommends focusing on one of the five digits of your hand when praying, for example, the thumb represents all the strong things in your life, such as home and family, as it is the strongest finger. As such you should focus on this digit when giving thanks for these things.


 Sources: Vexen, BBC, Catholic Encyclopaedia,

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