Anglican Church

The term Anglican Church refers to the reformed Church of England and its dependent churches abroad, such as those in colonial America. The Anglicans were the predominant sect in Virginia and other parts of the South during the colonial era. English Reformation of the Sixteenth Century The path to a reformed English church was anything but straightforward under the Tudor monarchs in the sixteenth century. Initially, Henry VIII, as a committed Roman Catholic, wrote a defense of the seven sacraments against the reformed writings of Martin Luther. The king received the title Defender of the Faith from an appreciative Pope Leo X in 1521. But the papacy was not as obliging in 1527, when Henry VIII asked that his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his wife of eighteen years, be declared invalid. Henry VIII had only one daughter, Mary, who was born in 1516, and he wished to marry again in the hopes of having a male heir. After failing to gain Rome’s concurrence, beginning in 1533 Henry VIII and Parliament passed legislation denying papal jurisdiction and making the king supreme head of the Church of England. The king’s newly appointed archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, the senior churchman in England, declared the king’s marriage to Catherine dissolved. Henry VIII could then marry Anne Boleyn in 1533, the same year their only child, Elizabeth, was born. In 1536, Henry VIII began the dissolution of the English monasteries and sold off the monastic lands to the gentry. In 1536, Catherine of Aragon died, and Anne Boleyn was executed on purported charges of adultery and treason. Henry VIII’s third wife, Jane Seymour, died in 1537 after giving birth to his longawaited son, Edward. Henry VIII married three more times but had no more children. By the Act of Six Articles of 1539 the king further defined the church he had created, which remained Catholic in doctrine. Most importantly, the English church still believed in transubstantiation, the real presence of Christ in the communion wine and bread. Henry VIII had created an Anglo-Catholic church. The Protestant reformation of the Church of England first occurred during the reign of Henry’s son, Edward VI. The Act of Uniformity of 1549 abolished the Latin mass and substituted as the official form of worship the new English Prayer Book, written by Archbishop Cranmer and other divines. In 1552, Cranmer, further influenced by Continental reformers, produced a revised Book of Common Prayer in which holy communion became a memorial of Christ’s last supper, thus denying the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation. Before the English people had time to absorb these fundamental changes, Edward VI died and was succeeded by his half sister Mary I, who declared herself Roman Catholic. The English church was to undergo yet another transformation, as Parliament repealed all Protestant legislation, to include the 1552 Prayer Book, and the doctrine of transubstantiation was reinstated. Parliament, however, repealed the legislation against papal authority in England only after the papacy gave assurances that the confiscated church properties would not have to be restored. Mary I also reactivated the laws against heresy by which 300 Protestants were burned at the stake, among them Thomas Cranmer. When Mary I died childless in 1558, her half sister Elizabeth I ascended the throne. To Catholics, Elizabeth I was illegitimate, having been born to Anne Boleyn while her father was legally married to Catherine of Aragon by the laws of their church. For that reason, as well as her personal preference, Elizabeth I re-created a Protestant Church of England. The pope’s authority was once again denied by the Act of Supremacy of 1559, which made the queen the supreme governor of the English church. The Act of Uniformity revived the Prayer Book of 1552, and in 1563 the convocation, or governing body of church clergy, passed the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, which were clearly Protestant in content. Nevertheless, in the hopes of creating an allembracing church, Elizabeth I maintained bishops and left certain matters of ritual and vestments unchanged. During her reign, those who wanted to further purify the church and remove all vestiges of Catholicism found that the queen would condone no more innovations. Diocese of the Northeast Anglican Church in America Moose Factory: St. Thomas Anglican Church Encyclopedia Britannica Christ Church Anglican Church cnr Wellington & William Streets …

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