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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


March 2015

Archbishop addresses funeral for Pakistani Christians via mobile phone
17 March 2015
Archbishop's words are translated as he prays for mourners of Christians killed in church attacks in…

Archbishop welcomes faith leaders to Lambeth Palace
11 March 2015
Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on peacemaking and reconciliation at annual reception for faith groups…

Young Christians invited to spend 'a year in God's time'
2 March 2015
Applications open for Christians aged 20-35 to spend a radical year in a monastic-inspired community…

February 2015

Archbishop welcomes Korean Anglican leader to Lambeth Palace
26 February 2015
Archbishop of Canterbury welcomes Archbishop Paul Kim and directors of South Korea's Christian broadcaster…

Faith communities 'essential' for ending sexual violence in war, says Archbishop
9 February 2015
Read Archbishop Justin Welby's keynote speech at the Mobilising Faith Communities in Ending Sexual Violence…

New bishops welcomed to Lambeth Palace
6 February 2015
Archbishop Justin Welby and Caroline Welby meet new bishops from around the Communion.

Archbishop defends religious freedom
4 February 2015
Read Archbishop Justin Welby's speech at the launch of the Religious Liberty Commission in Westminster…

January 2015

Archbishop's speech at 'Creating the Common Good' conference in New York
23 January 2015
Read the Archbishop's speech this morning at Trinity Institute's 'Creating the Common Good' conference…

Archbishop visits New York to speak on economic inequality
22 January 2015
Watch Archbishop Justin ringing the Bell of Hope in NYC for terror victims in France and Nigeria

Bishop of Kurunegala resigns - statement from Lambeth Palace
6 January 2015
Statement from Lambeth Palace regarding the resignation of the Bishop of Kurunegala.

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