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"Episcopalianism", "Episcopalian", and "Episcopalians" redirect here. For the ecclesiastical governance structure, see Episcopal polity.For other uses, see Episcopal (disambiguation) and Episcopal Church (disambiguation).
In British parliamentary legislation referring to the English established church, there is no need for a description; it is simply the Church of England, though the word "Protestant" is used in many Acts specifying the succession to the Crown and qualifications for office.Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services that worshippers in most Anglican churches have used for centuries, and is thus acknowledged as one of the ties that bind the Anglican Communion together.After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada.Elsewhere, however, the term "Anglican Church" came to be preferred as it distinguished these churches from others that maintain an episcopal polity.Anglicanism, in its structures, theology and forms of worship, is commonly understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between what are perceived to be the extremes of the claims of 16th-century Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran and Reformed varieties of Protestantism of that era.In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed".
The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion.
As such, it is often referred to as being a via media (or "middle way") between these traditions.
and among these Fathers, especially those active during the five initial centuries of Christianity, according to the quinquasaecularist principle proposed by the English bishop Lancelot Andrewes and the Lutheran dissident Georg Calixtus).
As a noun, an Anglican is a member of a church in the Anglican Communion.
The word is also used by followers of separated groups which have left the communion or have been founded separately from it, although this is sometimes considered as a misuse.
The word Anglicanism came into being in the 19th century.