Britain was the home of Pelagius , who opposed Augustine of Hippo 's doctrine of original sin. While Christianity was long established as the religion of the Britons at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasion , Christian Britons made little progress in converting the newcomers from their native paganism. This event is known as the Gregorian mission and is the date the Church of England generally marks as the beginning of its formal history.
With the help of Christians already residing in Kent , Augustine established his church at Canterbury , the capital of the Kingdom of Kent , and became the first in the series of Archbishops of Canterbury in A later archbishop, the Greek Theodore of Tarsus , also contributed to the organisation of Christianity in England. The Church of England has been in continuous existence since the days of St Augustine, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as its episcopal head.
Despite the various disruptions of the Reformation and the English Civil War , the Church of England considers itself to be the same church which was more formally organised by Augustine. While some Celtic Christian practices were changed at the Synod of Whitby , the Christian in the British Isles was under papal authority from earliest times.
It was presided over by King Oswiu , who did not engage in the debate but made the final ruling. Pope Clement VII , considering that the earlier marriage had been entered under a papal dispensation and how Catherine's nephew, Emperor Charles V , might react to such a move, refused the annulment. Eventually, Henry, although theologically opposed to Protestantism, took the position of Supreme Head of the Church of England to ensure the annulment of his marriage. He disbanded monasteries , priories , convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland, appropriated their income, disposed of their assets, and provided pensions for the former residents.
The properties were sold to pay for the wars. The population of England at the time is estimated to have been only 2. This is one in 75, not 1 in However the latter figure is creditable if secular clergy are included. Henry maintained a strong preference for traditional Catholic practices and, during his reign, Protestant reformers were unable to make many changes to the practices of the Church of England. Indeed, this part of Henry's reign saw trials for heresy of Protestants as well as Roman Catholics. Under the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer , a more radical reformation proceeded.
A new pattern of worship was set out in the Book of Common Prayer and These were based on the older liturgy in particular the Prayer Book of , but both influenced by Protestant doctrines such as justification by faith alone, the rejection of the sacrifice of the Mass, and the Real Presence understood as physical presence Cranmer was Calvinist in that he believed Christ was truly and really present in the Eucharist but after a spiritual manner as in a sacrament. The confession of the reformed Church of England was set out in the Forty-two Articles later revised to thirty-nine.
The reformation however was cut short by the death of the king. Queen Mary I , who succeeded him, returned England again to the authority of the papacy, thereby ending the first attempt at an independent Church of England. During her co-reign with her husband, King Philip , many leaders and common people were burnt for their refusal to recant of their reformed faith. These are known as the Marian martyrs and the persecution led to her nickname of "Bloody Mary".
Mary also died childless and so it was left to the new regime of her half-sister Elizabeth to resolve the direction of the church. The settlement under Queen Elizabeth I from , known as the Elizabethan Settlement , tried to stir a middle way between radical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism, the via media, a term that actually only became current in the s , as the character of the Church of England, a church moderately Reformed in doctrine, as expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles , but also emphasising continuity with the Catholic and Apostolic traditions of the Church Fathers.
The three-fold ministry in the Apostolic Succession was maintained; the institutional continuity of the Church was preserved without break at her accession almost all clergy had been ordained in Catholic Orders using the Roman Pontifical , although the character of the organization was changed by the adoption of some reformed doctrines and the simplification of the outwards forms of worship and the abandonment of traditional vestments and art work; the retention of medieval Canon Law, a much shortened Calendar of Saints and liturgical music.
It was also an established church constitutionally established by the state with the Head of State as its supreme governor. The exact nature of the relationship between church and state would be a source of continued friction into the next century. For the next century, through the reigns of James I , who ordered the translation of the Bible known as the King James Version Authorized to be used in parishes which does not mean it was the official version ,  and Charles I , culminating in the English Civil War and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell , there were significant swings back and forth between two factions: The failure of political and ecclesiastical authorities to submit to Puritan demands for more extensive reform was one of the causes of open warfare.
By Continental standards the level of violence over religion was not high, since the Civil was mainly about politics, but the casualties included King Charles I and the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud and tens of thousands of civilians who died from the unsettled conditions. Under the Commonwealth and the Protectorate of England from to , the bishops were dethroned and former practices were outlawed, and Presbyterian ecclesiology was introduced in place of the episcopate. Despite this, about one quarter of English clergy refused to conform to this form of State Presbyterianism.
One difference was that the ideal of encompassing all the people of England in one religious organisation, taken for granted by the Tudors, had to be abandoned. The religious landscape of England assumed its present form, with the Anglican established church occupying the middle ground, and those Puritans and Protestants who dissented from the Anglican establishment, having to continue their existence outside the national church rather than trying to influence or trying to gain control of it. One result of the Restoration was the ousting of 2, parish ministers who had not been ordained by bishops in the Apostolic Succession or had been by presbyters ministers in presbyter's orders.
Continuing official suspicion and legal restrictions continued well into the 19th century.
It is the classic attempt of a Catholic church, the Church of England, to reform itself. The Act of Supremacy renewed the breach and the Elizabethan Settlement charted a course enabling the English church to describe itself as both catholic and reformed:. The church includes both liberal and conservative clergy and members. Retrieved 21 November Bermuda was then grouped into the new Diocese of Newfoundland and Bermuda from
As the British Empire expanded, British colonists and colonial administrators took the established church doctrines and practices together with ordained ministry and formed overseas branches of the Church of England. As they developed or, beginning with the United States of America, became sovereign or independent states, many of their churches became separate organisationally but remained linked to the Church of England through the Anglican Communion. In Bermuda, the oldest remaining English colony now designated a British Overseas Territory , the first Church of England services were performed by the Reverend Richard Buck, one of the survivors of the wreck of the Sea Venture which initiated Bermuda's permanent settlement.
The nine parishes of the Church of England in Bermuda , each with its own church and glebe land , rarely had more than a pair of ordained ministers to share between them until the Nineteenth Century. From to , Bermuda's parishes were attached to the See of Nova Scotia. Bermuda was then grouped into the new Diocese of Newfoundland and Bermuda from In , the Synod of the Church of England in Bermuda was formed. At the same time, a Diocese of Bermuda became separate from the Diocese of Newfoundland , but both continued to be grouped under the Bishop of Newfoundland and Bermuda until , when Newfoundland and Bermuda each received its own Bishop.
The Church of England in Bermuda was renamed in as the Anglican Church of Bermuda , which is an extra-provincial diocese ,  with both metropolitan and primatial authority coming directly from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Under the guidance of Rowan Williams and with significant pressure from clergy union representatives, the ecclesiastical penalty for convicted felons to be defrocked was set aside from the Clergy Discipline Measure The clergy union argued that the penalty was unfair to victims of hypothetical miscarriages of criminal justice, because the ecclesiastical penalty is considered irreversible.
Although clerics can still be banned for life from ministry, they remain ordained as priests.
The archbishops of Canterbury and York warned in January that the Church of England will no longer be able to carry on in its current form unless the downward spiral in membership is somehow reversed as typical Sunday attendances had halved to , in the previous 40 years: The urgency of the challenge facing us is not in doubt.
Attendance at Church of England services has declined at an average of one per cent per annum over recent decades and, in addition, the age profile of our membership has become significantly older than that of the population Renewing and reforming aspects of our institutional life is a necessary but far from sufficient response to the challenges facing the Church of England The age profile of our clergy has also been increasing. Around 40 per cent of parish clergy are due to retire over the next decade or so. Approximately 30 Church of England parish churches are declared "closed for regular public worship" previously termed "redundant" each year.
Of these, closures, only were made since Some active use is made of about half of the closed churches. In the Church of England admitted that it was embarrassed to be paying staff under the living wage. The Church of England had previously campaigned for all employers to pay this minimum amount. The archbishop of Canterbury acknowledged it was not the only area where the church "fell short of its standards". The canon law of the Church of England identifies the Christian scriptures as the source of its doctrine. In addition, doctrine is also derived from the teachings of the Church Fathers and ecumenical councils as well as the ecumenical creeds in so far as these agree with scripture.
This doctrine is expressed in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion , the Book of Common Prayer , and the Ordinal containing the rites for the ordination of deacons , priests , and the consecration of bishops. However, Richard Hooker 's appeal to scripture, church tradition , and reason as sources of authority continue to inform Anglican identity. The Church of England's doctrinal character today is largely the result of the Elizabethan Settlement, which sought to establish a comprehensive middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
The Church of England affirms the Protestant Reformation principle that scripture contains all things necessary to salvation and is the final arbiter in doctrinal matters. The Thirty-nine Articles are the church's only official confessional statement.
Though not a complete system of doctrine, the articles highlight areas of agreement with Lutheran and Reformed positions, while differentiating Anglicanism from Roman Catholicism and Anabaptism. While embracing some themes of the Protestant Reformation, the Church of England also maintains Catholic traditions of the ancient church and teachings of the Church Fathers, unless these are considered contrary to scripture.
It accepts the decisions of the first four ecumenical councils concerning the Trinity and the Incarnation. The Church of England also preserves Catholic Order by adhering to episcopal polity , with ordained orders of bishops, priests and deacons. There are differences of opinion within the Church of England over the necessity of episcopacy. Some consider it essential, while others feel it is needed for the proper ordering of the church.
It is light on details compared to Roman Catholic, Reformed and Lutheran teachings. The Bible, the Creeds, Apostolic Order, and the administration of the Sacraments are sufficient to establish Catholicity.
The Reformation in England was initially much concerned about doctrine but the Elizabethan Settlement tried to put a stop to doctrinal contentions. The proponents of further changes, nonetheless, tried to get their way by making changes in Church Order abolition of bishops , governance Canon Law and liturgy 'too Catholic'. They did not succeed because the Monarchy, the Church and resisted and the majority of the population were indifferent.
Moreover, "despite all the assumptions of the Reformation founders of that Church, it had retained a catholic character. The existence of cathedrals "without substantial alteration" and "where the "old devotional world cast its longest shadow for the future of the ethos that would become Anglicanism," p. This is "One of the great mysteries of the English Reformation," ibid that there was no complete break with the past but a muddle that was per force turned into a virtue.
The story of the English Reformation is the tale of retreat from the Protestant advance of which could not proceed further in the face of the opposition of the institution which was rooted in the medieval past, ibid. The Church of England has, as one of its distinguishing marks, a breadth and "open-mindedness". This tolerance has allowed Anglicans who emphasise the Catholic tradition and others who emphasise the Reformed tradition to coexist. The three "parties" see Churchmanship in the Church of England are sometimes called high church or Anglo-Catholic , low church or evangelical Anglican and broad church or liberal.
The high church party places importance on the Church of England's continuity with the pre-Reformation Catholic Church, adherence to ancient liturgical usages and the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood. As their name suggests, Anglo-Catholics maintain many traditional Catholic practices and liturgical forms. Such churches were also reported to attract higher numbers of men and young adults than others.
In addition to this book the General Synod has also legislated for a modern liturgical book , Common Worship , dating from , which can be used as an alternative to the BCP. Like its predecessor, the Alternative Service Book , it differs from the Book of Common Prayer in providing a range of alternative services, mostly in modern language, although it does include some BCP-based forms as well, for example Order Two for Holy Communion. This is a revision of the BCP service, altering some words and allowing the insertion of some other liturgical texts such as the Agnus Dei before communion.
The Order One rite follows the pattern of more modern liturgical scholarship. The liturgies are organised according to the traditional liturgical year and the calendar of saints. The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are generally thought necessary to salvation. Infant baptism is practised. At a later age, individuals baptised as infants receive confirmation by a bishop, at which time they reaffirm the baptismal promises made by their parents or sponsors. The Eucharist, consecrated by a thanksgiving prayer including Christ's Words of Institution , is believed to be "a memorial of Christ's once-for-all redemptive acts in which Christ is objectively present and effectually received in faith".
The use of hymns and music in the Church of England has changed dramatically over the centuries. Traditional Choral evensong is a staple of most cathedrals. During the 18th century, clergy such as Charles Wesley introduced their own styles of worship with poetic hymns. In the latter half of the 20th century, the influence of the Charismatic Movement significantly altered the worship traditions of numerous Church of England parishes, primarily affecting those of evangelical persuasion. These churches now adopt a contemporary worship form of service, with minimal liturgical or ritual elements, and incorporating contemporary worship music.
Women were appointed as deaconesses from but they could not function fully as deacons and were not considered ordained clergy. Women have been lay readers for a long time. They have voted to take up the offer made by Pope Benedict XVI in November that permits vicars and their entire congregations to defect to Rome while keeping many of their Anglican traditions, including married priests. By issuing the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus on groups of Anglicans the Pope was accused of attempting to poach Anglicans unhappy about decisions taken in their Church to ordain women and sexually-active homosexuals as priests and bishops.
But the Vatican insisted that the move to create self-governing "personal ordinariates", which resemble dioceses in structure, came as a result of requests from at least 30 disaffected Anglican bishops around the world for "corporate reunion" with the Catholic Church. The Anglican Church in America ACA will now enter the Catholic Church as a block, bringing in thousands of converts along with their own bishops, buildings and even a cathedral.
They will worship according to Anglican rubrics, and use the Book of Common Prayer, but they will be in communion with the Pope, recognising him as their leader. Anglican bishops ordained as Catholic priests. The bishops said in a brief statement afterwards that they had agreed to formally "request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith". When he determined that his marriage to his brother's wife was theologically inappropriate, he turned to the Pope for an annulment.
Unfortunately, Pope Clement VII, a Medici, had lost a war to Charles V, Henry's bitter enemy and Catherine's nephew, and was his virtual prisoner when the petition was first put to him. Propagandists on both sides have tried to make either Clement or Henry look honorable in this affair.
Anglican–Roman Catholic dialogue is the historical communication between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, through their. The Church of England (C of E) is the Established Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican This is expressed in its emphasis on the teachings of the early Church.
Both men contributed to the eventual outcome, which was Henry declaring himself Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England, getting his annulment from Thomas Cranmer, his Archbishop of Canterbury, and continuing his descent into a murderous megalomania. There was ample precedence for granting the annulment that Henry sought. Clement could have done so had he not been caught in his own machinations. The fact that princes like Clement were routinely made Pope is a major reason for the Protestant Reformation.
The Church of England and the Church of Rome This tawdry affair, animated by the ruthless politics of both Henry and Clement, began a spiral of diplomatic and military struggles between the Tudor monarchs and the papacy that set the stage for the development of Anglican Christianity as it is today. As Henry separated the Church of England from Rome's dominion, he inadvertently gave hope to people in and out of England who wanted to reform the church according to Luther's ideas. It is the classic attempt of a Catholic church, the Church of England, to reform itself.
The first Prayer Book represented several developments of the Reformation as the English adapted them: A second Prayer Book, much more influenced by continental reformed theologians, came out in She had Cranmer and many other churchmen burned at the stake for heresy, hence her nickname 'Bloody Mary'. She immediately began a struggle to maintain the legitimacy of her claim to the throne. The course she plotted was to accede neither to the Catholic supporters of the papacy, nor to the second-generation Protestants enamored of John Calvin's theology.
She reinstated the Prayer Book of , with a few changes backing away from the reformed emphasis of that Book.
After a last failed attempt to remove Elizabeth from her throne by force, Pope Pius V excommunicated her in This made his English supporters into her de facto foes. In , at the papacy's urging, Spain sent an armada of ships and troops to conquer England. Its defeat confirmed Elizabeth's supporters that her church had divine favor. It also intensified the persecution of Roman Catholics in England. A deep enmity developed between the two churches that has lasted into our era.
Elizabeth directed the Church of England back to the reformed catholic model fashioned during Edward's reign. While she would not in her words "make windows in men's souls," she did demand outward conformity to its liturgy. This eventually developed into the tradition of considerable freedom of belief and conscience that Anglicans enjoy today. It also was the first instance of the successful development of a national form of Western Christianity.
Today's Anglican Communion is comprised of 36 independent national churches, each representing a local adaptation of the reformed catholicism that is Anglicanism. The shape of a reformed Catholicism Elizabeth's very capable Archbishop of Canterbury, William Whitgift, set about raising up brilliant scholars to develop the theological rationale for this reformed catholicism.