The term Anglican Religion refers to adherents to the Church of England, which was created by Henry VIII during the Protestant Reformation. Henry VIII wanted a divorce, the Roman Catholic Church would not grant it, so he broke off and started his own church in the 15th century.
The word Anglican is a derivative of the Latin word for England “Anglicanus”.
The Anglican churches of the world can be considered as a fellowship of churches, in many different countries where the British were influential and dominated politically. These churches are independent of each other as the Church of England does not rule the Church of Ireland, the church in Wales or the church in Australia.
The Anglican Church hierarchy is different from the Roman Catholic church, in that the Pope and the Vatican provide directives, whereas his counterpart the Archbishop of Canterbury offers only consensus governance. The Archbishop of Canterbury is a spiritual leader only.
However, the Church of England in various ways is still close to the Roman Catholic Church having retained basic medieval practices, an Episcopal polity and many theological beliefs.
This is because the split was not caused by theological differences, but rather because of personal and political differences between King Henry VIII and Pope Clement VII.
This resulted in the Church of England being under the direct control of the king rather than the pope.
Over the years many Anglican priests and bishops have converted to the Roman Catholic Church, because they were more comfortable with the doctrine. Queen Elizabeth 1, in the early 19th century tried to rectify this with the Oxford Movement and the Anglican Church we know today is the result.
Many members of the Anglican Church wanted to return to the Catholic Church and other Protestants wanted to rid the Anglican Church of Roman Catholic influence. Elizabeth was not in favour of either and her choice was to find a compromise.
The compromise was “The Book of Common Prayer” which had a combination of Biblical teachings, religious traditions and modern philosophical and religious ideas. It was vague in nature and remained true to Christian traditions while being uniquely English. It was written in order to please as many people as possible and became known as the Elizabethan Settlement.
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