Anglicanism

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Anglicanism

 

one of the Protestant religions whose worship and organizational principles are nearer to the Catholic Church than those of other Protestant churches.

The Church of England is the state church in England. It originated during the Reformation of the 16th century (the break between the English king, Henry VIII, and the papacy, the secularization of monasteries, and other changes) as a national state church headed by the king (the Act of Supremacy, 1534). Its doctrines and the organizational forms on which it was based remained Catholic. During the reign of Edward VI, T. Cranmer compiled the Book of Common Prayer (1549), which combined Protestant and Catholic elements in its doctrines and practices. During the reign of Elizabeth Tudor, in the Thirty-nine Articles (1571) the dogma was drawn somewhat closer to Calvinism. The Church of England, which had become an important support of absolutism, was established by the English Bourgeois Revolution of the 17th century; after the restoration of the Stuarts (1660), it was reestablished.

The head of the Church of England is the king, who actually appoints the bishops. In the hierarchy of the Church of England its primate is the archbishop of Canterbury, followed by the archbishop of York. A considerable number of bishops are members of the House of Lords. All the fundamental church statutes are subject to Parliament’s approval. The state bears most of the cost of maintaining churches. The upper hierarchy of the Church of England is closely connected with the financial oligarchy and the landed aristocracy of England.

There are three trends in the Church of England: the High Church, the nearest to Catholicism; the Low Church, nearest to Puritanism and Pietism; and the Broad Church, which tries to unite all Christian tendencies (the leading Anglican trend).

In addition to the Church of England in England, there are independent Anglican churches in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Australia, and several other countries. Anglicans number approximately 30 million people. Nominally, separate Anglican Churches are not interdependent. Since 1867, however, Anglican bishops have met for a conference in London once every ten years (the so-called Lambeth Conferences, named for Lambeth Palace, the residence of the archbishop of Canterbury), forming the Anglican Union of Churches. Anglicans take part in the ecumenical movement.

REFERENCES

Robertson, A. “Religiia i ateizm v sovremennoi Anglii.” In Ezhegodnik Muzeia istorii religii i ateizma, vol. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Stephens, W. R. W., and W. Hunt, eds. A History of the English Church, vols. 1–9. London, 1899–1910.