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The Church of England is the state church of England. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and with the monarch as its supreme governor, the Church of England is the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. The church dates its establishment to the 6th-century Gregorian mission in Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Church of England
Text below a stylised cross-in-circle. The Church of England badge is copyright  The Archbishops' Council, 2000.
Abbreviation C of E
Classification Anglican
Orientation Anglicanism
Polity Episcopal
Supreme
Governor
Queen Elizabeth II
of the United Kingdom
Primate
of All England
Justin Welby
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Region England
Wales
Isle of Man
Channel Islands
Gibraltar
Headquarters Church House, Westminster
Origin
England
Separated from Roman Catholic Church
Separations English Dissenters
Methodists
Brethren
Free Church of England
Episcopal Church (USA)
Quakers
Members 26 million (2015)
Official website churchofengland.org

The Church of England is the state church of England. Headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury (currently Justin Welby) and with the monarch as its supreme governor, the Church of England is the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. The church dates its establishment to the 6th-century Gregorian mission in Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

The English church renounced papal authority when Henry VIII sought to secure an annulment from Catherine of Aragon in the 1530s. The English Reformation accelerated under Edward VI's regents before a brief restoration of papal authority under Queen Mary I and King Philip. The Act of Supremacy 1558 renewed the breach and the Elizabethan Settlement charted a course whereby the English church was to be both Catholic and Reformed:

The earlier phase of the English Reformation saw Catholic martyrs, and some radical Protestants ones; the later phases saw the Penal Laws punish both Roman Catholic and nonconforming Protestants. In the 17th century, political and religious disputes raised the Puritan and Presbyterian faction to control of the church, but this ended with the Restoration. Papal recognition of George III in 1766 led to greater religious tolerance.

Since the English Reformation, the Church of England has used a liturgy in English. The church contains several doctrinal strands, the main three known as Anglo-Catholic, Evangelical and Broad Church. Tensions between theological conservatives and progressives find expression in debates over the ordination of women and homosexuality. The church includes both liberal and conservative clergy and members.

The governing structure of the church is based on dioceses presided over by a bishop. Within each diocese are local parishes. The General Synod of the Church of England is the legislative body for the church and comprises bishops, other clergy and laity. Its measures must be approved by both Houses of Parliament.

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