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Anglican Communion

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion - a first among equals (“primus inter pares”) amongst fellow bishops. 

The Anglican Communion is, along with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church, one of the world’s largest global Christian denominations. It has around 85 million members, spread across 38 Provinces in more than 165 countries. Each of these Provinces is autonomous, with its own system of governance. The most senior of the bishops or archbishops in each Province are known as “Primates”.

The Anglican Communion is not held together by a formal constitution or international church law, but rather by a shared heritage, by ways of worshipping and by the relationships—the “bonds of affection”—between its members worldwide. These are strengthened when Anglicans meet, informally and at such formal gatherings as the Instruments of Communion. President of these Instruments is the Archbishop of Canterbury who acts as a unique focus of unity.

The Archbishop of Canterbury also plays a leading role in nurturing the interdependent life of the Anglican Communion by visiting Provinces, convening meetings, facilitating initiatives, and contributing to theological reflection.

In his ministry across the Anglican Communion the Archbishop is supported by a dedicated staff at Lambeth Palace as well as the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion and his staff at the Anglican Communion Office in London, England.

See also: The Archbishop in the Anglican Communion: An Historical Note


April 2014

Archbishop Justin's speech at the Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace conference
10 April 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury gave the following speech at Reclaiming the Gospel of Peace, a conference…

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Canada and the USA
8 April 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and his wife, Caroline, landed in Toronto last night for the…

March 2014

Caroline Welby writes about inspirational Anglican women
4 March 2014
The Anglican Alliance is marking International Women’s Day by telling the stories of Anglican women…

February 2014

Archbishop congratulates Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori on honorary Oxford degree
7 February 2014
Archbishop Justin has welcomed news that the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Bishop Katharine…

Archbishop Justin visits project combating sexual violence in Goma
5 February 2014
Archbishop Justin hails 'wonderful example' of Anglican initiative which provides holistic care for victims…

‘You are God’s people of reconciliation’ – Archbishop preaches in South Sudan
5 February 2014
Preaching at All Saints Cathedral in Juba, South Sudan, last week during a six-day visit to Africa, the…

Archbishop Justin's sermon in Juba, South Sudan
5 February 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's sermon at All Saints Cathedral, Juba, South Sudan, Thursday…

South Sudan: Archbishop prays at site of murdered church workers in Bor
3 February 2014
Archbishop Justin prayed with Archbishop Daniel Deng at mass graves awaiting the burial of church-workers…

Special report: Archbishop visits South Sudan amid continuing crisis
3 February 2014
Visiting South Sudan last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged support for ‘the long and hard work’…

Archbishop Justin in DR Congo: 'We pray for lasting peace'
3 February 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo today for a two-day visit to…

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