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Church of England
Logo of the Church of England.svg
Abbreviation C of E
Classification Protestant
Orientation Anglican
Theology Anglican doctrine
Polity Episcopal
Supreme governor Charles III
Primate Justin Welby
Associations Anglican Communion
Porvoo Communion
World Council of Churches
Region England, Wales (cross-border parishes)
Isle of Man
Channel Islands
Continental Europe
Headquarters Church House, Westminster, England
Separated from Roman Catholic Church
Separations English Dissenters
(1534 onwards)
Puritans (17th century)
Methodists (18th century)
Plymouth Brethren (1820s)
Free Church of England (1844)
Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (2011)
Members 26 million (baptised)
Other name(s) Anglican Church

The Church of England (C of E) is the leading Christian church in England. Its adherents are called Anglicans.

Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has used the English language in the liturgy. The British monarch (currently Charles III) is the supreme governor and the Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) is the most senior cleric. The governing structure of the church is based on dioceses, each presided over by a bishop. Within each diocese are local parishes. The General Synod of the Church of England is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, other clergy and laity. Its measures must be approved by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.


The Church of England was created by King Henry VIII in 1534. Henry VIII was married to Catherine of Aragon, but asked the Pope to annul the marriage (say that there was a mistake and that Henry and Catherine were never really married). He had wanted to annul the marriage because he wanted a male heir to his throne and Catherine could not produce one.

When the annulment was refused, Henry VIII used his position as King to break away from the Roman Catholic Church, and establish the Church of England, sometimes called the Anglican (English) Church. Methodism broke away from the church in the 18th century. The Oxford Movement brought Catholic beliefs back into the church in the 19th century.

Under his son, King Edward VI, more Protestant forms of worship were adopted. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer started more changes. A new pattern of worship was set out in the Book of Common Prayer (1549 and 1552). These were based on the older liturgy but influenced by Protestant principles.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Iglesia de Inglaterra para niños

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