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.
PHOTOS: Archbishop washes young people's feet in Johannesburg
3 July 2014
In an impromptu gesture, the Archbishop of Canterbury washed the feet of 12 young people at an Anglican…
South Africa welcomes Archbishop Justin
3 July 2014
Archbishop Justin Welby arrives in South Africa for three-day visit with Anglican leaders and communities…
Archbishop begins visit to Anglican primates in central and southern Africa
30 June 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Zambia for week of visits to Anglican primates in central and…
'Thanksgiving and repentance' - Archbishop on the first black Anglican bishop
29 June 2014
Archbishop's sermon at Canterbury Cathedral service today marking the 150th anniversary of the first…
Archbishop addresses National Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast
17 June 2014
Speaking in Westminster today the Archbishop said the global 21st century church must - as Pope Francis…
Great Lakes Archbishops welcomed to Lambeth Palace
13 June 2014
Archbishops pray for progress in Great Lakes peace initiative
We must pray for Nigeria, says Archbishop
6 June 2014
Prayer must come first, but we must also support the Nigerian government and keep up visibility of the…
Archbishop prays with Nigerian president
4 June 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby made a last minute visit to Nigeria today to offer his heartfelt…
Archbishop urges United Church leaders in India: ‘Be ambassadors of reconciliation’
3 June 2014
Reconciliation is "the only way" to tackle social issues, says Archbishop during visit to United Church…
Archbishop joins calls for protection of Pakistan’s Christians
29 May 2014
"Freedom of worship is a universal human right," says Archbishop during visit to church leaders in Pakistan…