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«The Church of England»

Москва, 2002

The Church of England


Introduction ………………………………………………………………..…………3

History of the Church of England

Status of Church in England up to 1530 ………………………..4

Reformation of Church ……………………………………………4

Henry VII…………………………………………………………….4

Edward VI……………………………………………………………6

Mary I………………………………………………………………...6

Elizabeth I……………………………………………………………7

Charles II…………………………………………………….……….8

Victoria ……………………………………………………….………8

II. The Church of England today…………………………………………………..9

The essence of being an Anglican………………………………………..9

Organisation of the Church of England ………………………………….11

Church of England becomes an International Church……………………...12




Everything in this life has its own history, especially Religion, as it
is a great institution. With the development of history of a particular
country, there will always be development of Religion, since the Church
is an integral part of State System. Heathenism, Orthodoxy, Judaism
etc.. They have been living for centuries. And some of them were
changed, penetrated each other or reformed dramatically.

England was not exception.

The English are not a deeply religious race. Hundreds of years ago they
decided that Roman Catholicism with its teachings about original sin and
the unworthiness of the human race could not really have been meant for
them. So they designed a Church of their own – the Church of England.

The English Reformation was a result of the chain of events that
eventually altered England and Englishness forever. So much in history
is a bastard child of both long-standing, simmering emotion and the
opportunistic seizing of a moment. By its nature unexpected, it is also
unpredictable, and shaped as much by environment and chance as by its
progenitors. The Reformation was no different. It was going on through
the ages and reigns.

I. History of the Church of England

1. Status of Church in England up to 1530

Until 1054 there was only one Christian Church - the Catholic Church.
Its leadership was centered in five great Patriarchates -- Jerusalem,
Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople in the East and Rome in the West.
After the Roman Empire became Christian some bishops increasingly became
involved in political matters, and the bishops of Rome in particular
began to claim power over the whole Church. This led to a tragic
division in the Church, the "Great Schism" of 1054, when it split into
the "Orthodox" East and the "Roman Catholic" West.

Not directly involved in that split was the Church in England, which the
Bishops of Rome were determined to claim - especially after 1061, when a
rival Papacy in Lombardy claimed allegiance from the See of Canterbury.
In 1066, the Duke of Normandy (William "the Conqueror"), with the
support and formal blessing of Pope Alexander II, invaded England. After

lessing of Pope Alexander II, invaded England. After
seizing the English Crown, William replaced all but one of the English
bishops with Norman bishops loyal to Rome. The CHURCH OF ENGLAND was to
remain under Papal jurisdiction for nearly 500 years, until the reign of
King Henry VIII.

2. Reformation of Church

England in the sixteenth century was a land of contrasts. Much less
urban than either Germany or the Netherlands, it nevertheless possessed
a thriving international trade centre in London and in Oxford and
Cambridge, two universities of outstanding reputation. The universities,
in fact, would play a significant role in the early campaigns against
Luther. Henry VIII turned to their finest theologians for arguments
allowing him to enter the lists against the growing threat of Lutheran
heresy. This initiative would earn him from a grateful Pope the coveted
title, Defender of the Faith.

The progress of the Reformation in England was closely bound up with
Henry's personal affairs. His increasing desperation to secure release
from his marriage to Catherine of Aragon forced him to contemplate
radical steps that went very much against the grain of his own
instinctive theological conservatism.

Henry VIII

It was the only Henry’s chance to go outside the boundaries of the
orthodoxy. Until this event, Henry had never questioned the Pope’s
authority or the validity of the Bible passage, it banned the marriage
of a brother- and sister-in-law. It was as early as the end of 1529 that
Henry first considered a complete dissociation from the Roman church.

Henry forced Wolsey to retire, as his entire foreign policy had
collapsed and he was now of no help to the King. In July of 1531, Henry
sent Catherine to Ampthill, never to see her again. He took back her
royal jewels and gave them to Anne. When Parliament reconvened in
January, 1532, Henry ordered that no further funds would be transferred
to Rome, but hinted to the Pope that the money would be restored if the
annulment was passed.

Meanwhile, most of the bishops had been persuaded that they would not
lose any power or income if the English Church were to split from Rome.
In March, the Convocation formally announced their readiness to
separate: “May it please your Highness to ordain in the present
Parliament that the obedience of your Highness and of the people be
withdrawn from the See of Rome.” On May 15, they printed a pledge to
submit all its legislation to a new committee, formed of laymen and
clergymen, called the “Reformation Parliament” and Convocation. This is
where the Church of England was born.

On January 15, 1533, Henry and Anne, who was four months pregnant, were
married. However, the King still did not have his first marriage
annulled. He submitted his request for annulment to the new Convocation,
led by Thomas Cranmer. On May 23, Cranmer declared Henry and Catherine’s
marriage to be unlawful and void. Five days later, he pronounced Henry
and Anne legally wed. On May 31, 1533, Anne was coronated as Queen of

ne was coronated as Queen of
England. Although the King and new Queen rejoiced, the silence from the
crowd at the coronation spoke for much of England. Pope Clement
excommunicated the King, stating that the new marriage was null, and
that any children would be illegitimate. On September 7 Elizabeth was

Henry swiftly transformed the English Church by passing various Acts
through Parliament. In March of 1534, The Act of Succession declared the
marriage to Catherine invalid, and therefore Mary illegitimate.
Elizabeth was named heir to the throne unless Anne produced a son. Royal
commissioners rode through the countryside, stopping at every house,
castle, monastery, and convent to exact oaths of loyalty to the King
from every man and woman. Only a few refused; those that did were sent
to the Tower of London to be put to death.

On November 11, 1534, the Statute of Supremacy was passed by Parliament.
This Act announced that “… the king, our sovereign lord, his heirs and
successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted, and reputed
the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, called
Anglicans Ecclesia”. And the King “…our said sovereign lord, his heirs
and successors, kings of this realm, shall have full power and
authority” to do everything “most to the pleasure of Almighty God”. It
was done to “… increase virtue in Christ's religion, and for the
conservation of the peace, unity, and tranquility of this realm” (pp.
97-98, Milton Viorst, The Great Documents of Western Civilization, NY,
Barnes and Noble, 1965)

Innovative from the first, the new Church simplified the liturgy,
ensured it was in English rather than Latin and set it out in a new Book
of Common Prayer which was designed to give the people of England a
commonly held pattern of worship, a sense of oneness of Church and
people, with the Church sanctifying every side of national life, giving
society a Godward purpose and direction. It introduced on Day of
Pentecost. It is written in English, emphasizes the people's
participation in the eucharist, and requires the Bible to be read from
cover to cover. Fast days are retained (supposedly to help fishermen),
but saints' days are not.

The political nation was, for the most part, obediently compliant rather
than enthusiastic. There is no evidence of any great hostility towards
the church and its institutions before the Reformation; on the contrary,
both the English episcopate and parish clergy seem to have been, by the
standards of other European lands, both well-trained and living without
scandal. Cardinal Wolsey, who fathered an illegitimate son, was very
much the exception. On the other hand, few were prepared to defy the
King to defend the threatened institutions of the old church. Many
benefited from the windfall of church property that followed the
confiscation of monastic lands.

Edward VI

During Edward's reign (Henry’s son), the Church of England became more
explicitly Protestant - Edward himself was fiercely so. The Book of

so. The Book of
Common Prayer was introduced in 1549, aspects of Roman Catholic
practices (including statues and stained glass) were eradicated and the
marriage of clergy allowed. The imposition of the Prayer Book (which
replaced Latin services with English) led to rebellions in Cornwall and

“Images" ordered removed from all churches by the council of regents.
This also means no vestments, ashes, palms, holy water, or crucifixes.
This causes so much resentment that an order suppressing all preaching

Mary I

Edward VI dies. People are tired of Protestant looting of churches. Mary
Tudor ("Bloody Mary"), a militant Roman Catholic, becomes queen, she
returned the English church to communion with Rome. She was Popular at
first, but soon marries the hated Philip II of Spain. Persecution of
Protestants begins; Mary appoints new bishops and fires all married
priests. During her reign, about 300 Protestants were burned, including
5 bishops, 100 priests, and 60 women. An attempt by Cardinal Pole
(Mary's archbishop of Canterbury) to restore monasticism fizzles when,
among 1500 surviving monks, nuns, and friars, fewer than 100 are willing
to return to celibacy. All this ensures Roman Catholics will remain
unpopular in England.

Elizabeth I

Mary dies. Elizabeth I, (a Protestant), becomes queen. Despite many
problems (including frequent assassination plots from Roman Catholics),
she supports the enterprising middle class and England prospers. With
her accession an independent church was restored and steered along a
middle ground between Roman Catholicism and Calvinism.

Since 1564 the Era of Puritanism had began. The word "Puritan" appears
for the first time. It was biblically based on Calvinistic Protestantism
- with emphasis upon the "purification" of church and society of the
remnants of "corrupt" and "unscriptural" "papist" ritual and dogma. The
characteristics of their movement were the following: a disciplined,
godly life, and the energetic evangelical activities. They want:

a skilled, educated preaching ministry, based on the Bible

as few ceremonies in church as Biblically possible (no surplice, no
signing of the cross)

abolition of the traditional role of bishop, and replacement of the
episcopate by a presbyterian system

one legal government church, controlled by Puritans.

By the 1660s Puritanism was firmly established amongst the gentry and
the emerging middle classes of southern and eastern England, and during
the Civil Wars the Puritan "Roundheads" fought for the parliamentary
cause and formed the backbone of Cromwell's forces during the
Commonwealth period. After 1646, however, the Puritan emphasis upon
individualism and the individual conscience made it impossible for the
movement to form a national Presbyterian church, and by 1662, when the
Anglican church was re-established, Puritanism had become a loose
confederation of various Dissenting sects. The growing pressure for
religious toleration within Britain itself was to a considerable degree

was to a considerable degree
a legacy of Puritanism, and its emphasis on self-discipline,
individualism, responsibility, work, and asceticism was also an
important influence upon the values and attitudes of the emerging middle

Thirty-Nine Articles (1571) drafted as a doctrinal statement by a
convocation of the Church of England. The Thirty-nine Articles of
Religion, along with the historic Creeds, are the doctrinal standard for
Anglicanism. They are printed in the back of most editions of the Prayer
Book and tell us not only about the main postulates (e.g. Of faith in
the Holy Trinity, Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very man;
Of Original or Birth Sin; Of Free Will etc.), but also about Sin after
Baptism, Of the Church, Of the Authority of the Church, Of the authority
of General Councils, Of speaking in the Congregation in such a tongue as
the people understandeth etc.

Charles II

With accession of Charles II in 1660 the Restoration of the monarchy
began. Everyone is tired of Puritan rule. Puritan laws and censorship
are repealed; the theaters re-open. The "Declaration of Breda" results
in tolerance for Puritan views within the Anglican fold. The conflict
with Puritanism leaves distrust for religious individualism and
emotionalism ("enthusiasm") among Anglicans. This will continue through
the "Great Awakening" (1738-1784: Christian revival in England and
America). This coincides with the Enlightenment, or Age of Reason,
during which many educated people cease to consider themselves

Act of Toleration (1689), partially restores civil rights to Roman
Catholics and Dissenters. The events since the Reformation have finally
convinced most Anglicans of the virtues of tolerance and mutual

Victorian Era


The Evangelical branch of the Anglican Church coincided very nearly with
the "Low Church" party. Evangelical, a term literally meaning "of or
pertaining to the Gospel," designated the school of theology adhered to
by those Protestants who believed that the essence of the Gospel lay in
the doctrine of salvation by faith in the death of Christ, which atoned
for man's sins. Evangelicalism stressed the reality of the "inner life,"
insisted on the total depravity of humanity and on the importance of the
individual's personal relationship with God and Savior. They put
particular emphasis on faith, denying that either good works or the
sacraments (which they perceived as being merely symbolic) possessed any
salvational efficacy. Evangelicals, too, denied that ordination imparted
any supernatural gifts, and upheld the sole authority of the Bible in
matters of doctrine

High church was associated with the Tractarian movement began about 1833
and ended in 1845 with John Henry Newman's conversion to Roman
Catholicism. It was also called the Oxford Movement because Newman, a
fellow of Oriel College (part of Oxford University) and vicar of St.
Mary's, the University church, and others were based there when they

began the Tracts for the Times in 1833. There were exactly 90 Tracts,
the majority written by Newman, arguing in general that the truth of the
doctrines of the Church of England rested on the modern church's
position as the direct descendant of the church established by the
Apostles. Pretty obviously, such an argument was a conservative answer
to the various contemporary challenges to the authority of religion in
general, Christianity in particular, and specifically Anglicanism
Catholicism, fueled by the same need for reassurance as was the
Evangelical revival. Since the 16th century the Church of England had
prided itself on being the via media, or middle road, between Roman
Catholicism and a more radical Protestantism.

The Church of England has, in its several ways, been the Church to
uphold the dignity of the individual. It gave the lead, for example, not
only in the abolition of slavery but it played a critical role in
stopping the slave trade itself. Today, of course, it is a Church at the
forefront of the practical fight to right injustices, restore the
dignity of people everywhere and put the world on a sustainable economic
footing without ruining the planet upon which God put us.

II. The Church of England today

We are now in what many call the post-modern era and the Church of
England is experiencing a resurgence of interest in matters of faith as
well as in the Church itself. Calls to the ministry are up, giving for
the Church's work is up and the Church is confident that, with and by
God's grace, it can make an increasingly valuable contribution to the
life of the nation, its people, and do so far beyond its borders as

Anglicans are numerous on every continent and constitute the principal
Christian community in many areas, notably in Africa.

The Book of Common Prayer exists in 170 languages. There are about 45
million Anglicans worldwide. There are three million Episcopalians in
the US.

At least one survey indicates that, among all denominations in this
country, we have the highest percentage of members who take time for
daily prayer.

There is little doubt that, among all groups of Christians, we Anglicans
are the most diverse and the most tolerant. Anglicans are still facing
persecution in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, Communist China,
the Soviet bloc nations, Central Africa, and Central America.

Throughout the world, over one thousand new Christian churches open
their doors each Sunday. As always, Christianity flourishes wherever it
shows people its highest ideals.

1) The essence of being an Anglican

The Scriptures and the Gospels, the Apostolic Church and the early
Church Fathers, are the foundation of Anglican faith and worship. The
basic tenets of being an Anglican are:

* They view the Old and New Testaments 'as containing all things
necessary for salvation' and as being the rule and ultimate standard of

* They understand the Apostles' creed as the baptismal symbol, and the
Nicene creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.

* The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself - Baptism and the Supper
of the Lord - are administered with unfailing use of Christ's words of
institution, and the elements are ordained by him.

* The historic episcopate is locally adapted in the methods of its
administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of
God into the unity of his Church.

Anglicans uphold the Catholic and Apostolic faith. Following the
teachings of Jesus Christ, the Churches are committed to the
proclamation of the good news of the Gospel to the whole creation. In
practice this is based on the revelation contained in Holy Scripture and
the Catholic creeds, and is interpreted in light of Christian tradition,
scholarship, reason and experience.

By baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a person is
made one with Christ and received into the fellowship of the Church.
This sacrament of initiation is open to children as well as to adults.

Central to worship for Anglicans is the celebration of the Holy
Eucharist, also called the Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper or the
Mass. In this offering of prayer and praise, the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ are recalled through the proclamation of
the word and the celebration of the sacrament. Other important rites,
commonly called sacraments, include confirmation, holy orders,
reconciliation, marriage and anointing of the sick.

Worship is at the very heart of Anglicanism. Its styles vary from simple
to elaborate, or even a combination. The great uniting text is The Book
of Common Prayer, in its various revisions throughout the Communion. The
Book of Common Prayer, alongside additional liturgies gives expression
to the comprehensiveness found within the Church whose principles
reflect that of the via media in relation to its own and other Christian
Churches. The Lambeth Conferences of the 1950s and 1960s called for more
up-to-date national liturgies and this is going on today. No matter how
distinctive each is, they are all clearly of the lineage of The Book of
Common Prayer.

Another distinguishing feature of the corporate nature of Anglicanism is
that it is an interdependent Church, where parishes, dioceses and
provinces help each other to achieve by mutual support in terms of
financial assistance and the sharing of other resources.

To be an Anglican is to be on a journey of faith to God supported by a
fellowship of co-believers who are dedicated to finding Him by prayer
and service.

2) Today’s Organisation of the Church of England

The Church of England is organised into two provinces; each led by an
archbishop (Canterbury for the Southern Province and York for the
Northern). These two provinces cover every inch of English soil, the
Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly and even a small
part of Wales.

Each province is built from dioceses. There are 43 in England and the
Diocese in Europe has clergy and congregations in the rest of Europe,

and congregations in the rest of Europe,
Morocco, Turkey and the Asian countries of the former Soviet Union.

Each diocese (except Europe) is divided into parishes. The parish is the
heart of the Church of England. Each parish is overseen by a parish
priest (usually called a vicar or rector). From ancient times through to
today, they, and their bishop, are responsible for the 'cure of souls'
in their parish. That includes everyone. And this explains why parish
priests are so involved with the key issues and problems affecting the
whole community.

Her Majesty the Queen is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England,
and she also has a unique and special relationship with the Church of
Scotland, which is a Free Church. In the Church of England she appoints
archbishops, bishops and deans of cathedrals on the advice of the Prime
Minister. The two archbishops and 24 senior bishops sit in the House of
Lords, making a major contribution to Parliament's work.

The Church of England is episcopally led (there are 108 bishops) and
synodically governed. The General Synod is elected from the laity and
clergy of each diocese and meets in London or York at least twice
annually to consider legislation for the good of the Church.

The Archbishops' Council was established in 1999 to co-ordinate,
promote, aid and further the mission of the Church of England. It is
composed of 19 members and 7 directors whose task is to give a clear
sense of direction to the Church nationally and support the Church

The Church of England issues its own newspaper: The Church Times,
founded in 1863. It has become the world's leading Anglican weekly
newspaper. It has always been independent of the Church of England
hierarchy. It was a family concern until 1989, when ownership passed to
Hymns Ancient & Modern, a Christian charitable trust. The Church Times
was started to campaign for Anglo-Catholic principles, which it did with
vigour and rudeness. But in the 1940s and '50s the paper began the move
to broaden its outlook and coverage. It now attempts to provide balanced
and fair reporting of events and opinions across the whole range of
Anglican affairs. The rudeness we now leave to our readers. For a longer
history of the paper

III. Church of England becomes an International Church

Anglicans trace their Christian roots back to the early Church, and
their specifically Anglican identity to the post-Reformation expansion
of the Church of England and other Episcopal or Anglican Churches.
Following the discovery of the "New World", Anglicanism spread to the
Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania (the central and south Pacific). Some
37 national and regional Anglican Churches were established in various
parts of the world, which together became known as the Anglican

Historically, there were two main stages in the development and spread
of the Communion. Beginning with the seventeenth century, Anglicanism
was established alongside colonisation in the United States, Australia,

, Australia,
Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. The second state began in the
eighteenth century when missionaries worked to establish Anglican
churches in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

As a worldwide family of churches, the Anglican Communion has more than
70 million adherents in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries.
Located on every continent, Anglicans speak many languages and come from
different races and cultures. Although the churches are autonomous, they
are also uniquely unified through their history, their theology, their
worship and their relationship to the ancient See of Canterbury.

The Anglican Communion has no constitution, governing body, central
authority or common liturgy. It is merely a loose association of
autonomous Churches with similar origins. Since 1970 it has been
disintegrating, as some member churches have brazenly tampered with
essential elements of the Faith and con no longer claim to have the same
Scriptures, Creeds, Sacraments and Ministry as the rest of the Catholic
church. Since 1987 those Churches have included the CHURCH OF ENGLAND


There have been Christians in Britain since AD200 and probably earlier.
Through war, peace, famine and prosperity, the Church was critical in
the development of society, law, buildings and the quiet piety of the
people. English civil power and the Church developed in an increasingly
uneasy parallel. Two points of contention were the Church's wealth and
its ties with Rome. These differences came to a head in the 1530s, when
King Henry VIII wished to obtain a divorce from Queen Catherine of
Aragon. And Act of Supremacy was issued. This Act reaffirmed the King’s
sovereignty over the English Church and State and gave Henry power over
all moral, organizational, heretical, and ecclesiastical reform which
until this point had been left to the Church. The new church was
christened Ecclesia Anglicana.

But in 1550's, however, under Edward VI, the English Church became
Protestant in doctrine and ritual, and even then it remained traditional
in organization. Under the Roman Catholic Mary I a politico-religious
reaction resulted in the burning at the stake of some prominent
Protestants and the exile of many others, which led in turn to a popular
association of Catholicism with persecution and Spanish domination. When
Elizabeth I succeeded to the throne in 1558, however, she restored a
moderate Protestantism, codifying the Anglican faith in the Act of
Uniformity, the Act of Supremacy, and the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Under reign of Charles II. Puritan laws and censorship are repealed; the
theaters re-open. The conflict with Puritanism leaves distrust for
religious individualism and emotionalism ("enthusiasm") among Anglicans.
This will continue through the "Great Awakening". During "Great
Awakening" Christian revival took place in England and America.

The trend during Victorian Era rediscovered of liturgy and church
history and spreading Christianity. In the mid-nineteenth century, then,

he mid-nineteenth century, then,
the Church of England was disorganized. Though its adherents were
largely conservative, a considerable portion of its leadership was,
ideologically speaking, perilously close to Catholicism, and the
religious census of 1851 showed that it was reaching only about fourteen
percent of the population of England.

When the British Empire expanded in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries,
so too did the Church. And today the Anglican Communion has more than 70
million adherents in 38 Provinces spreading across 161 countries. Te
Churches are committed to the proclamation of the good news of the
Gospel to the whole creation. In practice this is based on the
revelation contained in Holy Scripture and the Catholic creeds, and is
interpreted in light of Christian tradition, scholarship, reason and
experience. The Anglican Church is open for people who are united in
their creed and their love of Christ Jesus, the Son of God and what He
means for them and for the world around them.


The Anglican Catholic Church, second edition, 1998, published by The
Anglican Catholic Church

Dickens, A.G. The English Reformation. Second Ed. University Park, PA:
The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989

Rupp, Gordon. Religion in England 1688-1791. Oxford: Clarendon Press,

Morgan, Kenneth O., ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1986.



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