The Anglican Church of Canada is a part of the worldwide Christian Church. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth, a first-century Jewish preacher in Palestine, was in fact God incarnate. If you are completely new to Christianity, try visiting the BBC website to learn more about Jesus Christ and the Christian faith.
There are more than two billion Christians worldwide. Four major branches of Christianity are:
- The Orthodox Church, Eastern and Oriental
- The Roman Catholic Church
- The Anglican Church
- The Protestant Churches
Anglicans are influenced by both the Protestant and Catholic traditions.
History of Anglicanism
The Anglican Church of Canada has its roots in the Church of England. The Church of England became independent from the Roman Catholic Church during the Reformation in the 16th century. For more details on the history of the Church of England, see An ancient church, catholic and reformed on the Church of England website.
Anglicanism developed and spread outside England in two stages:
- Beginning in the 17th century, it was established alongside colonies in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, the West Indies and Guyana.
- Beginning in the 18th century, missionaries worked to establish Anglican churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
For more information about the history of the Anglican Church in Canada, read A Brief History on the Anglican Church of Canada website.
Anglicans worldwide have common beliefs, practices and ways of worship, which are expressed locally in many languages and customs. The whole Anglican family worldwide has more than 80 million members in 165 countries, and is known as the Anglican Communion. The parishes, dioceses and provinces of the Anglican Communion are interdependent, supporting each other by sharing financial and other resources.
While each national or regional church within the Communion is autonomous, the Archbishop of Canterbury is its spiritual head and the chief sign of its unity.
Have more questions about Anglicanism or Christianity? Your local parish priest will be happy to tell you more. Find a parish near you in our Find a Church/Cleric section.