The Anglican Church emerged at the time of the Reformation in England. King Henry VIII. broke with the pope in 1533 for refusing to annul the king's marriage. As head of a new state church, Henry VIII set up the. itself in 1534.
On matters of faith, Anglicans initially stuck to Catholic doctrine. Later, Protestant influences prevailed, leading to the publication of the first Anglican book of faith, the Book of Common Prayer, in 1549. Worldwide, the Anglican Church has about 78 million members. Outside England, there are 26 Anglican ecclesiastical provinces, including those in the U.S., Australia and several African countries, which are growing in importance. The mother church of England is presided over by the queen or the king as secular leader. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader, Primate of the Church of England, and honorary head of the Anglican world communion. However, as "primus inter pares" (first among equals), he has no authority to ie directives to the respective national churches. Already in the 17th century. In the sixteenth century, two major theological camps emerged, the "High Church," with its emphasis on church worship and sacraments, and the "Low Church," with its emphasis on Scripture. In the 19. In the nineteenth century, a group of Anglican clergymen at Oxford University triggered a return to Catholic elements. Facing Anglo-Catholics, Low Church turned evangelical insisted on Reformation heritage. Meanwhile, however, a new fault line has emerged between conservatives and liberals, running right through Anglicans and evangelicals. Tensions have increased considerably in recent years. Controversial ies include the ordination of women as clergy, and in some cases as bishops, which is permitted in many national churches, and the treatment of homosexuals.