Anglicanism is the religious tradition of the Church of England and the other autonomous members of the Anglican Communion. This branch of Christianity has more than 80 million members belonging to 44 regional and national churches. While often considered a branch of Protestantism, Anglicans generally prefer to see the Church as 'wholly Catholic and wholly reformed', a term first employed by Elizabeth I, and themselves as part of a "via media", or "middle way" somewhere between the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. Anglicanism descends directly from the early church and follows some of the same sacraments as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Anglicans continue to recite the Nicene Creed, professing their belief in "...one holy, catholic and apostolic church".
The English Church
The word "Anglican" comes from the Latin ecclesia anglicana meaning simply, "The English Church". Many of the individual churches in the communion have adopted names which distance themselves somewhat from the "parent" church in England. After the American Revolution, for example, American Anglicans found it preferable to call themselves members of The Episcopal Church.
- According to the official Anglican Communion website
- "Protestant, Yet Catholic: Anglicanism stands squarely in the Reformed tradition, yet considers itself just as directly descended from the Early Church as the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches. Episcopalians celebrate the 'Mass' in ways similar to the Roman Catholic tradition, yet do not recognize a single authority, such as the Pope of Rome." Sourced at the official website of the Episcopal Church, on 21 January 2008.http://www.episcopalchurch.org/visitors_8950_ENG_HTM.htm
- "Anglicanism". Catholic Encyclopedia.