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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


February 2016

'Martyrdom is the ultimate witness to Christ’s truth’
17 February 2016
Archbishop Justin Welby’s homily at General Synod, London, 17 February 2016

Archbishop reflects on Primates’ meeting in Synod address - video
15 February 2016
In his presidential address to the General Synod today, Archbishop Justin Welby spoke about the beauty…

January 2016

Archbishop Justin reflects on the Primates' meeting in Canterbury
21 January 2016
The Archbishop of Canterbury has written a reflection on the meeting of Anglican Primates in Canterbury…

Read the Communiqué from the Primates of the Anglican Communion
15 January 2016
Read the Anglican Primates' Communiqué after their week-long meeting in Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for prayer ahead of Primates' Meeting
6 January 2016
Archbishop asks people to pray for 'wisdom and love' as Anglican Primates prepare to gather in Canterbury…

November 2015

'Rebuild my house!' Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa preaches to the General Synod
25 November 2015
The Preacher to Papal Household, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preached to the General Synod of the Church…

Archbishop welcomes Patriarch Bartholomew to Lambeth Palace
2 November 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby welcomed Patriarch Bartholomew to Lambeth Palace at the start of his two-day…

Archbishop preaches at 50th anniversary of Corymeela Community
2 November 2015
Jesus calls us "irrevocably" to the task of reconciliation, said Archbishop Justin during celebration…

October 2015

Vatican cricketers beat Archbishop's XI in Rome
24 October 2015
Anglican and Vatican cricketers met for the second time in Rome today in a match that saw the Vatican…

Pray for political leaders under pressure on refugee crisis, urge primates
22 October 2015
Primates and presiding bishops of the Porvoo Communion of Churches met in Edinburgh this week.

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