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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 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury visits the Church of Ireland
2 October 2014
Reconciliation "remains constantly in our prayers" says Archbishop on first day of visit to Belfast,…

September 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury visits Anglicans in Brazil and Chile
8 September 2014
Continuing his worldwide visits to fellow primates, Archbishop Justin Welby visits Anglican churches…

August 2014

'We must be Christ in this troubled world' - sermon
15 August 2014
Preaching at the Holy Sepulchre Maori Mission Church in Auckland, Archbishop Justin Welby reflected on…

Archbishops of Canterbury and Melbourne joint statement on Iraq
14 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby and Archbishop Philip Freier made a joint statement on the crisis in northern…

Archbishop in Melbourne: Church should pursue ‘positive holiness’
13 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby preaches at inauguration of new Archbishop of Melbourne during 10-day visit to…

Archbishop's sermon in Melbourne, Australia
13 August 2014
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's sermon at the inauguration of Philip Freier as Archbishop of…

Archbishop prays for Melanesian Brothers killed during peace work
11 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby dedicates memorial to martyred Brothers during short visit to the Church of Melanesia…

Archbishop visits Anglicans in Papua New Guinea
9 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby is on a 10-day visit to fellow Anglican leaders in the South Pacific.

Archbishop begins visit to Anglicans in the South Pacific
7 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby will spend 10 days visiting Anglican primates and their provinces in the South…

Archbishop welcomes Ghana’s Ashanti King to Lambeth Palace
1 August 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby welcomes the King of Ghana's Ashanti Kingdom to Lambeth Palace, hailing his visit…

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