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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


December 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas sermon
25 December 2014
Read the Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas sermon. The Archbishop was regrettably not able to deliver…

Archbishop Justin's ecumenical Christmas greeting
23 December 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent a Christmas message to ecumenical partners and heads of churches…

Archbishop Justin gives Radio 4's Thought for the Day
23 December 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury reflected on his recent visit to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone in a Thought…

Archbishop of Canterbury meets children affected by Ebola in Sierra Leone
17 December 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby meets and prays with communities dealing with Ebola during visit to Freetown…

Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon in Freetown, Sierra Leone
16 December 2014
Read the sermon preached by Archbishop Justin Welby yesterday at St George’s Cathedral in Freetown,…

Archbishop's House of Lords soft power debate - opening speech
5 December 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury's opening speech in the House of Lords debate he is leading today on the…

Love matters most in a crisis - a Christmas message for the Treasurer magazine
3 December 2014
Writing in the Treasurer magazine, Archbishop Justin reflects on his Anglican Communion tour and praises…

Archbishop of Canterbury joins world faith leaders in pledge to end slavery
2 December 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby hails “profoundly significant” declaration by faith leaders to end modern…

November 2014

Archbishop Justin Welby's Ebola video - transcript
28 November 2014
Read the transcript of Archbishop Justin Welby's video reflections on the Ebola outbreak and how churches…

VIDEO: "Ebola attacks what makes us human"
28 November 2014
Watch the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking about the Ebola outbreak and how churches and faith communities…

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