Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising the Church of England and churches which are historically tied to it or hold similar beliefs, worship practices and church structures.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=What it means to be an Anglican )〕 The word ''Anglican'' originates in ''ecclesia anglicana'', a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the ''English Church''. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''. The great majority of Anglicans are members of churches which are part of the international Anglican Communion. There are, however, a number of churches that are not within the Anglican Communion which also consider themselves to be Anglican, most notably those referred to as Continuing Anglican churches,〔(Retrieved 9 November 2010. )〕 and those which are part of the Anglican realignment movement.
Anglicans found their faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession ("historic episcopate"), and writings of the Church Fathers.〔 Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity; having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Reformed Protestantism. These reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, the then Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism.〔Diarmaid MacCulloch, ''Thomas Cranmer: A Life'', Yale University Press, p.617 (1996).〕 By the end of the century, the retention in Anglicanism of many traditional liturgical forms and of the episcopate was already seen as unacceptable by those promoting the most developed Protestant principles
In the first half of the 17th century the Church of England and associated episcopal churches in Ireland (Church of Ireland) and in England's American colonies were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or ''via media'', between Reformed Protestantism and Roman Catholicism — a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity, and was expressed in the description "Catholic and Reformed".〔"The History of the Church of England"; http://www.cofe.anglican.org/about/history, Official Church of England website〕
Following the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; which, through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia and the regions of the Pacific. In the 19th century the term ''Anglicanism'' was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches; as also that of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which, though originating earlier within the Church of Scotland, had come to be recognised as sharing this common identity. The degree of distinction between Reformed and western Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the ''Book of Common Prayer'', the collection of services that worshippers in most Anglican churches used for centuries. While it has since undergone many revisions and Anglican churches in different countries have developed other service books, the ''Book of Common Prayer'' is still acknowledged as one of the ties that bind the Anglican Communion together.
There is no single Anglican Church with universal juridical authority, since each national or regional church has full autonomy. As the name suggests, the churches of the Anglican Communion are linked by affection and common loyalty. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his person, is a unique focus of Anglican unity. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, and is President of the Anglican Consultative Council.〔(Anglican Communion official website. )〕〔The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church by F. L. Cross (Editor), E. A. Livingstone (Editor) Oxford University Press, USA; 3 edition p.65 (13 March 1997)〕 With a membership estimated at around 80 million members〔(The Anglican Communion official website - "Provincial Registry" )〕 the Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion in the world, after the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
The word ''Anglicanism'' came into being in the 19th century; constructed from the older word ''Anglican''.〔 The word originally referred only to the teachings and rites of Christians throughout the world in communion with the see of Canterbury, but has come to sometimes be extended to any church following those traditions rather than actual membership in the modern Anglican Communion.〔
The word ''Anglican'' originates in ラテン語:''ecclesia anglicana'', a Medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 meaning the "English Church". As an adjective, "Anglican" is used to describe the people, institutions and churches, as well as the liturgical traditions and theological concepts, developed by the Church of England.〔 As a noun, an Anglican is a member of a church in the Anglican Communion. The word is also used by followers of separated groups which have left the communion or have been founded separately from it, though this is sometimes considered as a misuse.
Although the term "Anglican" is found referring to the Church of England as far back as the 16th century, its use did not become general until the latter half of the 19th century. In British parliamentary legislation referring to the English Established Church, there is no need for a description; it is simply the Church of England, though the word "Protestant" is used in many Acts specifying the succession to the Crown and qualifications for office. When the Union with Ireland Act created the United Church of England and Ireland, it is specified that it shall be one "Protestant Episcopal Church", thereby distinguishing its form of church government from the Presbyterian polity that prevails in the Church of Scotland.〔Union with Ireland Act 1800, Article V: ''That it be the Fifth Article of Union, That the Churches of England and Ireland, as now by Law established, be united into one Protestant Episcopal Church, to be called, The United Church of England and Ireland; and that the Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government of the said United Church shall be, and shall remain in full force for ever, as the same are now by Law established for the Church of England''〕
The word ''Episcopal'' is preferred in the title of the Episcopal Church (the province of the Anglican Communion covering the United States) and the Scottish Episcopal Church, though the full name of the former is ''The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America''. Elsewhere, however, the term "Anglican Church" came to be preferred as it distinguished these churches from others that maintain an episcopal polity.
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