Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury

Overview

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 and principal leader of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, and the diocesan bishop
Diocesan bishop
A diocesan bishop — in general — is a bishop in charge of a diocese. These are to be distinguished from suffragan bishops, assistant bishops, coadjutor bishops, auxiliary bishops, metropolitans, and primates....

 of the Diocese of Canterbury
Diocese of Canterbury
The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent, founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. It is centred on Canterbury Cathedral, and is the oldest see of the Church of England....

. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group of Christians in the world. The Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 chooses which person will become the next archbishop.

The current archbishop is the Most Reverend
Most Reverend
The Most Reverend is a style applied to certain religious figures.*In the Roman Catholic Church , all bishops are styled "The Most Reverend", as well as monsignors of the rank of protonotary apostolic de numero.*In the Roman Catholic Church , archbishops are styled "The...

 Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

.
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Timeline

1207   King John of England expels Canterbury monks for supporting Archbishop Stephen Langton.

1293   Robert Winchelsey leaves England for Rome, to be consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.

1533   The Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer declares the marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Anne Boleyn valid.

1556   In Oxford, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is burned at the stake.

1611   George Abbot is appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.

 
Encyclopedia

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

 and principal leader of the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, and the diocesan bishop
Diocesan bishop
A diocesan bishop — in general — is a bishop in charge of a diocese. These are to be distinguished from suffragan bishops, assistant bishops, coadjutor bishops, auxiliary bishops, metropolitans, and primates....

 of the Diocese of Canterbury
Diocese of Canterbury
The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent, founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. It is centred on Canterbury Cathedral, and is the oldest see of the Church of England....

. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group of Christians in the world. The Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 chooses which person will become the next archbishop.

The current archbishop is the Most Reverend
Most Reverend
The Most Reverend is a style applied to certain religious figures.*In the Roman Catholic Church , all bishops are styled "The Most Reverend", as well as monsignors of the rank of protonotary apostolic de numero.*In the Roman Catholic Church , archbishops are styled "The...

 Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

. He is the 104th in a line which goes back more than 1400 years to St Augustine of Canterbury, the "Apostle to the English", in the year 597. From the time of St Augustine until the 16th century, the Archbishops of Canterbury were in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the See of Rome and thus received the pallium
Pallium
The pallium is an ecclesiastical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, originally peculiar to the Pope, but for many centuries bestowed by him on metropolitans and primates as a symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Holy See. In that context it has always remained unambiguously...

. During the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

 the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 and the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, at first temporarily under Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 and Edward VI and later permanently during the reign of Elizabeth I.

In the Middle Ages there was considerable variation in the methods of nomination of the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

s. At various times the choice was made by the canons
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 of Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site....

, the King of England, or the Pope. Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has been more explicitly a state church
State church
State churches are organizational bodies within a Christian denomination which are given official status or operated by a state.State churches are not necessarily national churches in the ethnic sense of the term, but the two concepts may overlap in the case of a nation state where the state...

 and the choice is legally that of the British crown; today it is made in the name of the Sovereign
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 by the Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, from a shortlist of two selected by an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

Present roles and status


Today the archbishop fills four main roles:
  1. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury
    Diocese of Canterbury
    The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent, founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. It is centred on Canterbury Cathedral, and is the oldest see of the Church of England....

    , which covers the east
    East Kent
    East Kent and West Kent are one-time traditional subdivisions of the English county of Kent, kept alive by the Association of the Men of Kent and Kentish Men: an organisation formed in 1913...

     parts of the County of Kent
    Kent
    Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

    . Founded in 597, it is the oldest see
    Episcopal See
    An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

     in the English church.
  2. He is the metropolitan archbishop
    Metropolitan bishop
    In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis; that is, the chief city of a historical Roman province, ecclesiastical province, or regional capital.Before the establishment of...

     of the Province of Canterbury
    Province of Canterbury
    The Province of Canterbury, also called the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England...

    , which covers the southern two-thirds of England
    England
    England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

    .
  3. As Primate of All England, he is the senior primate
    Primate (religion)
    Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

     and chief religious figure of the Church of England (the British sovereign
    Monarchy of the United Kingdom
    The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

     is the "Supreme governor
    Supreme Governor of the Church of England
    The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

    " of the church). Along with his colleague the Archbishop of York
    Archbishop of York
    The Archbishop of York is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England as well as the Isle of Man...

     he chairs the General Synod
    General Synod of the Church of England
    The General Synod is the deliberative and legislative body of the Church of England. The synod was instituted in 1970, replacing the Church Assembly, and is the culmination of a process of rediscovering self-government for the Church of England that had started in the 1850s.- Church Assembly: 1919...

     and sits or chairs many of the church's important boards and committees; power in the church is not highly centralised, however, so the two archbishops can often lead only through persuasion. The Archbishop of Canterbury plays a central part in national ceremonies such as coronations
    Coronation of the British monarch
    The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

    ; due to his high public profile, his opinions are often in demand by the news media
    News media
    The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...

    .
  4. As spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion
    Anglican Communion
    The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

    , the archbishop, although without legal authority outside England, is recognised by convention as primus inter pares
    Primus inter pares
    Primus inter pares is Latin phrase describing the most senior person of a group sharing the same rank or office.When not used in reference to a specific title, it may indicate that the person so described is formally equal, but looked upon as an authority of special importance by their peers...

    (first among equals) of all Anglican primates
    Primate (religion)
    Primate is a title or rank bestowed on some bishops in certain Christian churches. Depending on the particular tradition, it can denote either jurisdictional authority or ceremonial precedence ....

     worldwide. Since 1867 he has convened more or less decennial meetings of worldwide Anglican bishops, the Lambeth Conferences
    Lambeth Conferences
    The Lambeth Conferences are decennial assemblies of bishops of the Anglican Communion convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The first such conference took place in 1867....

    .


In the last two of these functions he has an important ecumenical and interfaith
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

 role, speaking on behalf of Anglicans in England and worldwide.

The archbishop's main residence is Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore. It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200...

 in the London Borough of Lambeth
London Borough of Lambeth
The London Borough of Lambeth is a London borough in south London, England and forms part of Inner London. The local authority is Lambeth London Borough Council.-Origins:...

. He also has lodgings in the Old Palace, Canterbury
Canterbury
Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

, located beside Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site....

, where the Chair of St. Augustine sits.

As holder of one of the "five great sees" (the others being York
Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England as well as the Isle of Man...

, London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

, Durham and Winchester
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England diocese of Winchester, with his cathedra at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.The bishop is one of five Church of England bishops to be among the Lords Spiritual regardless of their length of service. His diocese is one of the oldest and...

), the Archbishop of Canterbury is ex officio one of the Lords Spiritual
Lords Spiritual
The Lords Spiritual of the United Kingdom, also called Spiritual Peers, are the 26 bishops of the established Church of England who serve in the House of Lords along with the Lords Temporal. The Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, is not represented by spiritual peers...

 of the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

. He is one of the highest-ranking men in England and the highest ranking non-royal in the United Kingdom's order of precedence
United Kingdom order of precedence
The Order of precedence in the United Kingdom is the sequential hierarchy for nobility, clergy and holders of the various Orders of Chivalry in the constituent countries of the United Kingdom:* England and Wales* Scotland* Northern Ireland...

.

Since Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 broke with Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, the Archbishops of Canterbury have been selected by the English (British since the Act of Union in 1707) monarch. Today the choice is made in the name of the monarch by the prime minister, from a shortlist of two selected by an ad-hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission. Since the twentieth century, the appointment of Archbishops of Canterbury conventionally alternates between more moderate Anglo-Catholics and Evangelicals.

The current archbishop, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Rowan Douglas Williams, is the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. He was enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral on 27 February 2003. As archbishop he signs himself as + Rowan Cantuar. Immediately prior to his appointment to Canterbury he was the Bishop of Monmouth
Bishop of Monmouth
The Bishop of Monmouth is the diocesan bishop of the Church in Wales Diocese of Monmouth.The see covers the historic county of Monmouthshire with the bishop's seat located at the Cathedral Church of Saint Woolos in Newport, which had been elevated to that status in 1921.The Bishop's residence is...

 in Wales. Whilst at Monmouth he was later, for a shorter period, also the Archbishop of Wales
Archbishop of Wales
The post of Archbishop of Wales was created in 1920 when the Church in Wales was separated from the Church of England , and disestablished...

.

Additional roles


In addition to his office, the archbishop also holds a number of other positions; for example, he is Joint President of the Council of Christians and Jews
The Council of Christians and Jews
The Council of Christians and Jews, or CCJ, is a voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom. It is composed of Christians and Jews working together to counter anti-semitism and other forms of intolerance in Britain. Their patron is Queen Elizabeth II....

 in the United Kingdom. Some positions he formally holds ex officio and others virtually so (the incumbent of the day, although appointed personally, is appointed because of his office). Amongst these are:
  • Chancellor
    Chancellor (education)
    A chancellor or vice-chancellor is the chief executive of a university. Other titles are sometimes used, such as president or rector....

     of Canterbury Christ Church University
    Canterbury Christ Church University
    Canterbury Christ Church University is a university in Canterbury, Kent, England. Founded as a Church of England college for teaching training it has grown to full university status and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2012. The focus of its work is in the education of people going into...


  • Visitor
    Visitor
    A Visitor, in United Kingdom law and history, is an overseer of an autonomous ecclesiastical or eleemosynary institution , who can intervene in the internal affairs of that institution...

     for the following academic institutions:
    • The University of Kent
      University of Kent
      The University of Kent, previously the University of Kent at Canterbury, is a public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom...

       (whose main campus is located at Canterbury
      Canterbury
      Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour....

      )
    • King's College London
      King's College London
      King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

    • University of King's College
      University of King's College
      The University of King's College is a post-secondary institution in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. King's is a small liberal arts university offering mainly undergraduate programs....

    • All Souls College, Oxford
      All Souls College, Oxford
      The Warden and the College of the Souls of all Faithful People deceased in the University of Oxford or All Souls College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England....

    • Keble College, Oxford
      Keble College, Oxford
      Keble College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its main buildings are on Parks Road, opposite the University Museum and the University Parks. The college is bordered to the north by Keble Road, to the south by Museum Road, and to the west by Blackhall...

    • Merton College, Oxford
      Merton College, Oxford
      Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the 1260s when Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and later to Edward I, first drew up statutes for an independent academic community and established endowments to...

    • Ridley Hall, Cambridge
      Ridley Hall, Cambridge
      Ridley Hall is a theological college located in Sidgwick Avenue in Cambridge in the United Kingdom, which trains intending ministers for the Church of England and other churches. It was founded in 1881 and named in memory of Nicholas Ridley, a leading protestant theologian of the sixteenth century...

    • Selwyn College, Cambridge
      Selwyn College, Cambridge
      Selwyn College is a constituent college in the University of Cambridge in England, United Kingdom.The college was founded by the Selwyn Memorial Committee in memory of the Rt Reverend George Selwyn , who rowed on the Cambridge crew in the first Varsity Boat Race in 1829, and went on to become the...

    • Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
      Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
      Wycliffe Hall is a Church of England theological college and a Permanent Private Hall of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. It is located on the Banbury Road in central North Oxford, between Norham Gardens and Norham Road.-Overview:...

       (also Patron)

  • Visitor of the following schools
    • Benenden School
      Benenden School
      Benenden School is an independent boarding school for girls in Kent, England. It is located in Benenden in the Kentish countryside, between Cranbrook and Tenterden....

    • Cranbrook School
      Cranbrook School, Kent
      Cranbrook School is a co-educational boarding and day grammar school located in Cranbrook, Kent in South East England.-Brief history:Founded in 1518 for poor boys of the town, it received a charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1574. Although in 1817 the town petitioned the Master of the Rolls,...

    • Haileybury and Imperial Service College
      Haileybury and Imperial Service College
      Haileybury and Imperial Service College, , is a prestigious British independent school founded in 1862. The school is located at Hertford Heath, near Hertford, from central London, on of parkland occupied until 1858 by the East India College...

    • Harrow School
      Harrow School
      Harrow School, commonly known simply as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London.. The school is of worldwide renown. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243 but the Harrow School we know today was...

    • King's College School, Wimbledon
      King's College School
      King's College School, commonly referred to as KCS, King's, or KCS Wimbledon, is an independent school for day pupils in Wimbledon in south-west London. The school was founded as the junior department of King's College London and occupied part of its premises in Strand, before relocating to...

    • The King's School, Canterbury
      The King's School, Canterbury
      The King's School is a British co-educational independent school for both day and boarding pupils in the historic English cathedral city of Canterbury in Kent. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the Eton Group....

    • St. John's School, Leatherhead
      St. John's School, Leatherhead
      St. John's School, Leatherhead is a public school in Surrey, England. It has about 420 male pupils and 60 female pupils, and from 2010 it will be fully co-educational....

    • Marlborough College
      Marlborough College
      Marlborough College is a British co-educational independent school for day and boarding pupils, located in Marlborough, Wiltshire.Founded in 1843 for the education of the sons of Church of England clergy, the school now accepts both boys and girls of all beliefs. Currently there are just over 800...

    • Dauntsey's School
      Dauntsey's School
      Dauntsey's School is a co-educational independent day and boarding school in the village of West Lavington, Wiltshire, England. The School was founded in 1542, in accordance with the will of William Dauntesey, a master of the Worshipful Company of Mercers....


  • Governor of Charterhouse School
    Charterhouse School
    Charterhouse School, originally The Hospital of King James and Thomas Sutton in Charterhouse, or more simply Charterhouse or House, is an English collegiate independent boarding school situated at Godalming in Surrey.Founded by Thomas Sutton in London in 1611 on the site of the old Carthusian...

  • Governor of Wellington College
    Wellington College, Berkshire
    -Former pupils:Notable former pupils include historian P. J. Marshall, architect Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, impressionist Rory Bremner, Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge, author Sebastian Faulks, language school pioneer John Haycraft, political journalist Robin Oakley, actor Sir Christopher...


  • Visitor, The Dulwich Charities
    Dulwich Estate
    The Dulwich Estate is a registered charity in England, one of the successors to the historic charity Alleyn's College of God's Gift, founded in 1619...

  • Visitor, Whitgift Foundation
    Whitgift Foundation
    The Whitgift Foundation is a charity based in Croydon, South London, England, established in 1596 by John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, who lived at Croydon Palace. The purpose of the charity is to provide education for the young and care for the elderly...

  • Visitor, Hospital of the Blessed Trinity
    Trinity
    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

    , Guildford
    Guildford
    Guildford is the county town of Surrey. England, as well as the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region...

     (Abbot's Fund)
  • Trustee, Bromley College
  • Trustee, Allchurches Trust
    Allchurches Trust
    Allchurches Trust is a registered charity in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Gloucester. It was established in 1972 to act as the beneficial owner of the major insurance company Ecclesiastical Insurance, whose profits it receives. It is affiliated to the Church of England.Its objects are to...

  • President, Corporation of Church House, Westminster
  • Joint President, Churches Conservation Trust
    Churches Conservation Trust
    The Churches Conservation Trust, which was initially known as the Redundant Churches Fund, is a charity whose purpose is to protect historic churches at risk, those that have been made redundant by the Church of England. The Trust was established by the Pastoral Measure of 1968...

  • Director, Canterbury Diocesan
    Diocese of Canterbury
    The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent, founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. It is centred on Canterbury Cathedral, and is the oldest see of the Church of England....

     Board of Finance


Origins



It has been suggested that the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 province of Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 had four archbishops, seated at London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, Lincoln
Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Lincoln is a cathedral city and county town of Lincolnshire, England.The non-metropolitan district of Lincoln has a population of 85,595; the 2001 census gave the entire area of Lincoln a population of 120,779....

 and Cirencester
Cirencester
Cirencester is a market town in east Gloucestershire, England, 93 miles west northwest of London. Cirencester lies on the River Churn, a tributary of the River Thames, and is the largest town in the Cotswold District. It is the home of the Royal Agricultural College, the oldest agricultural...

. However, in the 5th and 6th centuries Britannia began to be overrun by pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 who came to be known collectively as the Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

. Of the kingdoms they created, Kent
Kingdom of Kent
The Kingdom of Kent was a Jutish colony and later independent kingdom in what is now south east England. It was founded at an unknown date in the 5th century by Jutes, members of a Germanic people from continental Europe, some of whom settled in Britain after the withdrawal of the Romans...

 arguably had the closest links with European politics, trade and culture, because it was conveniently sited for communication with the Continent. In the late 6th century, King Æthelberht of Kent married a Christian Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 princess named Bertha
Bertha of Kent
Saint Bertha was the Queen of Kent whose influence led to the introduction of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England. She was canonized as a saint for her role in its establishment during that period of English history.Bertha was the daughter of Charibert I, Merovingian King of Paris...

, possibly before becoming king, and certainly a number of years before the arrival of the first Christian mission to England. He permitted the preaching of Christianity.

The first Archbishop of Canterbury was St Augustine
Augustine of Canterbury
Augustine of Canterbury was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 597...

 (not to be confused with St Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

), who arrived in Kent in 597 AD, having been sent by Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 on a mission to the English. He was accepted by King Æthelbert, on his conversion to Christianity, about the year 598. It seems that Pope Gregory, ignorant of recent developments in the former Roman province, including the spread of the Pelagian heresy
Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius , although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without...

, had intended the new archiepiscopal sees for England to be established in London and York. In the event, Canterbury was chosen instead of London, owing to political circumstances. Since then the Archbishops of Canterbury have been referred to as occupying the Chair of St. Augustine.

A Gospel Book believed to be directly associated with St. Augstine's mission survives in the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, England. Catalogued as Cambridge Manuscript 286, it has been positively dated to sixth century Italy and this bound book, the St Augustine Gospels, is still used during the swearing-in ceremony of new archbishops of Canterbury.

Before the break with papal authority in the 16th century, the Church of England was an integral part of the Western European church. Since the break the Church of England, an established national church, still considers itself part of the broader Western Catholic tradition as well as being the "mother church" of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Province and Diocese of Canterbury


The Archbishop of Canterbury exercises metropolitical (or supervisory) jurisdiction over the Province of Canterbury
Province of Canterbury
The Province of Canterbury, also called the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England...

, which encompasses thirty of the forty-four dioceses of the Church of England, with the rest falling within the Province of York. The four dioceses of Wales were formerly also under the Province of Canterbury until 1920 when they were transferred from the established Church of England to the disestablished Church in Wales
Church in Wales
The Church in Wales is the Anglican church in Wales, composed of six dioceses.As with the primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Wales serves concurrently as one of the six diocesan bishops. The current archbishop is Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff.In contrast to the...

.


The Archbishop of Canterbury has a ceremonial provincial curia, or court, consisting of some of the senior bishops of his province. The Bishop of London
Bishop of London
The Bishop of London is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of London in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers 458 km² of 17 boroughs of Greater London north of the River Thames and a small part of the County of Surrey...

—the most senior cleric of the church with the exception of the two archbishops—serves as Canterbury's provincial dean, the Bishop of Winchester
Bishop of Winchester
The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England diocese of Winchester, with his cathedra at Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire.The bishop is one of five Church of England bishops to be among the Lords Spiritual regardless of their length of service. His diocese is one of the oldest and...

 as chancellor
Chancellor (ecclesiastical)
Two quite distinct officials of some Christian churches have the title Chancellor.*In some churches, the Chancellor of a diocese is a lawyer who represents the church in legal matters....

, the Bishop of Lincoln
Bishop of Lincoln
The Bishop of Lincoln is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Lincoln in the Province of Canterbury.The present diocese covers the county of Lincolnshire and the unitary authority areas of North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. The Bishop's seat is located in the Cathedral...

 as vice-chancellor, the Bishop of Salisbury
Bishop of Salisbury
The Bishop of Salisbury is the ordinary of the Church of England's Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers much of the counties of Wiltshire and Dorset...

 as precentor
Precentor
A precentor is a person who helps facilitate worship. The details vary depending on the religion, denomination, and era in question. The Latin derivation is "præcentor", from cantor, meaning "the one who sings before" ....

, the Bishop of Worcester
Bishop of Worcester
The Bishop of Worcester is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury, England. He is the head of the Diocese of Worcester in the Province of Canterbury...

 as chaplain
Chaplain
Traditionally, a chaplain is a minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam or lay representative of a religion attached to a secular institution such as a hospital, prison, military unit, police department, university, or private chapel...

 and the Bishop of Rochester
Bishop of Rochester
The Bishop of Rochester is the ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Rochester in the Province of Canterbury.The diocese covers the west of the county of Kent and is centred in the city of Rochester where the bishop's seat is located at the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin...

 as cross-bearer
Crucifer
A crucifer is, in some Christian churches , a person appointed to carry the church's processional cross, a cross or crucifix with a long staff, during processions at the beginning and end of the service...

.

Along with primacy over the Archbishop of York
Primacy of Canterbury
Within the Church of England, the primacy of Canterbury or primacy of England is the supremacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the Archbishop of York.-1071:...

, the Archbishop of Canterbury also has a precedence of honour over the other bishops of the Anglican Communion. He is recognised as primus inter pares, or first amongst equals. He does not, however, exercise any direct authority in the provinces outside England.

At present the archbishop has three suffragan bishops:
  • The Bishop of Dover
    Bishop of Dover
    The Bishop of Dover is an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the town of Dover in Kent...

     is given the additional title of "Bishop in Canterbury" and empowered to act almost as if he were the diocesan bishop
    Diocesan bishop
    A diocesan bishop — in general — is a bishop in charge of a diocese. These are to be distinguished from suffragan bishops, assistant bishops, coadjutor bishops, auxiliary bishops, metropolitans, and primates....

     of the Diocese of Canterbury
    Diocese of Canterbury
    The Diocese of Canterbury is a Church of England diocese covering eastern Kent, founded by St. Augustine of Canterbury in 597. It is centred on Canterbury Cathedral, and is the oldest see of the Church of England....

    , since the archbishop is so frequently away fulfilling national and international duties.
  • Two further suffragans, the Bishop of Ebbsfleet
    Bishop of Ebbsfleet
    The Bishop of Ebbsfleet is a suffragan bishop who fulfils the role of a provincial episcopal visitor for the whole of the Province of Canterbury in the Church of England....

     and the Bishop of Richborough
    Bishop of Richborough
    __noTOC__The Bishop of Richborough is a suffragan bishop and provincial episcopal visitor for the whole of the Province of Canterbury in the Church of England....

    , are provincial episcopal visitor
    Provincial episcopal visitor
    A provincial episcopal visitor is a Church of England bishop assigned to minister to many of the clergy, laity and parishes who do not in conscience accept the ministry of women priests....

    s for the whole Province of Canterbury
    Province of Canterbury
    The Province of Canterbury, also called the Southern Province, is one of two ecclesiastical provinces making up the Church of England...

    , licensed by the archbishop as "flying bishops" to visit parishes throughout the province who are uncomfortable with the ministrations of their local bishop who has participated in the ordination of women.


The Bishop of Maidstone
Bishop of Maidstone
The Bishop of Maidstone was an episcopal title used by a suffragan bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Canterbury, in the Province of Canterbury, England. The title takes its name after the county town of Maidstone in Kent and had a similar though subordinate role to that of the Bishop of...

 was previously a second actual suffragan bishop working in the diocese, until it was decided at the diocesan synod of November 2010 that a new bishop will not be appointed.

Styles and privileges


The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York are both styled as "The Most Reverend"; retired archbishops are styled as "The Right Reverend". Archbishops are, by convention, appointed to the Privy Council
Privy Council of the United Kingdom
Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

 and may, therefore, also use the style of "The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable
The Right Honourable is an honorific prefix that is traditionally applied to certain people in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Anglophone Caribbean and other Commonwealth Realms, and occasionally elsewhere...

" for life (unless they are later removed from the council). In formal documents, the Archbishop of Canterbury is referred to as "The Most Reverend Father in God, Forenames
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

, by Divine Providence Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of All England and Metropolitan". In debates in the House of Lords, the archbishop is referred to as "The Most Reverend Primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury". "The Right Honourable" is not used in either instance. He may also be formally addressed as "Your Grace"—or, more often these days, simply as "Archbishop", "Father" or (in the current instance) "Dr Williams".
The surname of the Archbishop of Canterbury is not always used in formal documents; often only the first name and see are mentioned. The archbishop is legally entitled to sign his name as "Cantuar" (from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for Canterbury). The right to use only a title as a legal signature is only permitted to bishops, Peers of the Realm and peers by courtesy. The current Archbishop of Canterbury usually signs as "+Rowan Cantuar:".

In the English order of precedence, the Archbishop of Canterbury is ranked above all individuals in the realm, with the exception of the Sovereign and members of the Royal Family. Immediately below him is the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

 and then the Archbishop of York.

Residences


The Archbishop of Canterbury's official residence in London is Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace
Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in England. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore. It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200...

.
He also has a residence next to Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, Kent, is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and forms part of a World Heritage Site....

 on the site of the medieval Archbishop's Palace.
The archbishops had palaces on the periphery of London and on the route between London and Canterbury.

Former palaces of the archbishops include
  • Croydon Palace
    Croydon Palace
    Croydon Palace, in Croydon, now part of south London, was the summer residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for over 500 years. Regular visitors included Henry III and Queen Elizabeth I...

    : the summer residence of the Archbishops from the 15th to the 18th centuries.
  • Addington Palace
    Addington Palace
    Addington Palace is an 18th century mansion in Addington near Croydon, South London, England.-History:The original manor house called 'Addington Place' was built about the 16th century....

    : purchased as a replacement for Croydon Palace in 1807; sold in 1897.
  • Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone
    Archbishop's Palace, Maidstone
    The Archbishop's Palace is an historic 14th-century and 16th-century building on the east bank of the River Medway in Maidstone, Kent. Originally a home from home for travelling Archbishops from Canterbury, the building is today principally used as a venue for wedding services...

    : constructed in the 1390s, the palace was seized by the Crown at the time of the Reformation.
  • Otford Palace
    Otford Palace
    The Archbishop's Palace is in Otford, a village and civil parish in the Sevenoaks District of Kent. The village is located on the River Darent, flowing north down its valley from its source on the North Downs...

    : a medieval palace, rebuilt by Archbishop Warham c. 1515 and forfeited to the Crown by Thomas Cranmer in 1537.
  • Archbishop's Palace, Charing
    Archbishop's Palace, Charing
    Archbishop's Palace, Charing an important heritage site first mentioned in the Domesday Book as land held by the Archbishop of Canterbury at 'Meddestane', was redeveloped as a palace in 1348...

    : a palace existed from at least the 13th century; seized by the Crown after the Dissolution.
  • Knole House
    Knole House
    Knole is an English country house in the town of Sevenoaks in west Kent, surrounded by a deer park. One of England's largest houses, it is reputed to be a calendar house, having 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and 7 courtyards...

    : built by Archbishop Bourchier in the second half of the 15th century, it was forfeited to the Crown by Archbishop Cranmer in 1538.
  • The Old Palace, Bekesbourne, built c. 1552 for Archbishop Cranmer

See also

  • Accord of Winchester
    Accord of Winchester
    The Accord of Winchester is the 11th century document that establishes the primacy of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the Archbishop of York....

  • List of Archbishops of Canterbury
  • Religion in the United Kingdom
    Religion in the United Kingdom
    Religion in the United Kingdom and the states that pre-dated the UK, was dominated by forms of Christianity for over 1,400 years. Although a majority of citizens still identify with Christianity in many surveys, regular church attendance has fallen dramatically since the middle of the 20th century,...

  • Pope
    Pope
    The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

  • Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Supreme Governor of the Church of England
    Supreme Governor of the Church of England
    The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...


External links