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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


October 2015

Archbishop joins Global South Meeting in Cairo
16 October 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby joined a meeting of Global South Anglican Primates in Cairo yesterday.

Archbishop preaches at Virginia Theological Seminary
13 October 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby preached at the consecration of Immanuel Chapel at Virginia Theological Seminary…

Archbishop to preach at Virginia Theological Seminary
12 October 2015
Archbishop Justin will preach at the consecration of the US Episcopal seminary's Immanuel Chapel

September 2015

Archbishop of Canterbury calls for Primates' Gathering
16 September 2015
The Archbishop of Canterbury today wrote to all 37 Primates inviting them to attend a special Primates’…

July 2015

Archbishop welcomes first ever Peruvian Anglican bishops
31 July 2015
Archbishop of Canterbury says "we rejoice as the church marches forward" as three new missionary bishops…

Caroline Welby in Tanzania: Supporting the 'leaders beside the leaders'
28 July 2015
Caroline Welby led a retreat for wives of Tanzanian Anglican bishops.

Archbishop delivers lecture on religiously motivated violence - video
20 July 2015
At Liverpool John Moores University today, Archbishop Justin Welby delivered a Roscoe Lecture entitled…

Archbishop speaks in Lords on religious freedom
16 July 2015
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke today in a House of Lords debate on freedom of religion and belief.…

Church must 'look outwards' to tackle climate change, says Archbishop
13 July 2015
The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke during a debate on climate change today at the General Synod in York.…

Archbishop calls for peace as South Sudan marks fourth anniversary
9 July 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby said today "our prayers around the world" are for an end to violence in South…

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