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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 2014

Archbishop Justin's sermon in Juba, South Sudan
5 February 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's sermon at All Saints Cathedral, Juba, South Sudan, Thursday…

South Sudan: Archbishop prays at site of murdered church workers in Bor
3 February 2014
Archbishop Justin prayed with Archbishop Daniel Deng at mass graves awaiting the burial of church-workers…

Special report: Archbishop visits South Sudan amid continuing crisis
3 February 2014
Visiting South Sudan last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury urged support for ‘the long and hard work’…

Archbishop Justin in DR Congo: 'We pray for lasting peace'
3 February 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo today for a two-day visit to…

Archbishop Justin in Rwanda: ‘We must encourage vital work of reconciliation’
1 February 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrived in Rwanda this evening saying the country had come…

Archbishop Justin in Burundi: Anglican Church of Burundi offers 'inspiring vision'
1 February 2014
The Anglican Church of Burundi offers 'an inspiring vision' of rebuilding the country and its communities,…

January 2014

Archbishop Justin visits South Sudan, joins call for reconciliation
30 January 2014
Archbishop says South Sudanese Church 'sets an example' in calling together for unity, peace and reconciliation…

Archbishops recall commitment to pastoral care and friendship for all, regardless of sexual orientation
29 January 2014
The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have today written to all Primates of the Anglican Communion,…

Archbishop to visit South Sudan and Great Lakes
27 January 2014
Archbishop Justin will spend five days in the region as part of his plan to visit all his fellow Archbishops…

Archbishop mourns 'gifted' leader of the Church of the Province of West Africa
22 January 2014
The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed his shock and sadness at the sudden death yesterday of the…

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