Written by: Russell P. Dawn
Although Anglicanism is now a worldwide phenomenon, its very name asserts its origins as an English tradition within Christianity. Thus, "Anglican" can be thought to indicate any Church body in communion with the see (bishopric--the place of a bishop's or archbishop's authority) of Canterbury. There eventually developed in Anglicanism, however, a self-understanding as a Church that blends Protestantism and Catholicism, but remains distinct from each.
Written by: Russell P. Dawn
Anglicanism does not have a single founder; there is no Martin Luther of Anglicanism. Instead, Anglicanism has a number of contributors, people who gave something ...view middle of the document...
A bishop might have subordinate bishops (e.g., suffragans) to assist in meeting the needs of the diocese. Only a bishop can perform the rites of ordination and confirmation.
Ordinarily a bishop is ordained (consecrated) by an archbishop or other primate, and two other bishops. Anglicanism is one of only a few Protestant traditions that retain the title of bishop, and one of extremely few that claim the apostolic succession of their bishops. Apostolic succession holds that, just as Christ consecrated (set apart) and sent out the apostles, so also the apostles consecrated individuals to pastor the Church in given areas, and those who were consecrated did the same for their successors, and so on in an unbroken chain down through history. Apostolic succession is also called episcopal succession, from the Greek word that is translated bishop. It is for this reason that many Anglican bodies are self-styled as Episcopal (for instance, America'sThe Episcopal Church).
Anglicanism places a high value on its participation in apostolic succession. Episcopacy is viewed as a defining feature of Anglicanism and a ground of ecumenical ties with other Christian traditions. The unity of the Church is embodied in the historic episcopate, which is why therealignment taking place in the Anglican Communion is such a source of pain for bishops across the theological spectrum.
The next order of Anglican clergy is that of priest. Early in Christian history, as the idea of the Eucharist as a sacrificedeveloped, so did the idea of presbyters as priests. Over time the clergy came to be seen as representing both the people to God and God to the people. Priests were seen as having supernatural powers imparted to them upon their ordination, powers connected with the sacraments. Thus, the priest had the power to absolve of sins, to bring about the substantive change in the Eucharistic elements from bread and wine to body and blood (transubstantiation ), and to repeat the sacrifice of Christ to God in the Mass.
| The name "Anglican" means "of England", but the Anglican church exists worldwide. It began in the sixth century in England, when Pope Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine to...