Sunday, November 1, 2009


Christianity is the most widely practised religion in England, as it has been since the Early Middle Ages, although it was first introduced much earlier, in Gaelic and Roman times. It continued through Early Insular Christianity, and today about 71.6% of English people identify as Christians. The largest form practiced in the present day is Anglicanism, dating from the 16th century Reformation period, with the 1536 split from Rome over Henry VIII wanting to divorce Catherine of Aragon, the religion regards itself as both Catholic and Reformed. There are High Church and Low Church traditions, and some Anglicans regard themselves as Anglo-Catholics, after the Tractarian movement. The monarch of the United Kingdom is the head of the Church, acting as its Supreme Governor. It has the status of established church in England. There are around 26 million adherents to the Church of England and they form part of the Anglican Communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury acting as the symbolic worldwide head. Many cathedrals and parish churches are historic buildings of significant architectural importance, such as Westminster Abbey, York Minster, Durham Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral.

Painting of man in armour on white horse fighting black dragon to his left.

Saint George, the patron saint of England

The second largest Christian practice is the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, which traces its formal, corporate history in England to the 6th century with Augustine's mission and was the main religion on the entire island for around a thousand years. Since its reintroduction after the Catholic Emancipation, the Church has organised ecclesiastically on an England and Wales basis where there are 4.5 million members (most of whom are English). There has been one Pope from England to date, Adrian IV; while saints Bede and Anslem are regarded as Doctors of the Church. A form of Protestantism known as Methodism is the third largest and grew out of Anglicanism through John Wesley. It gained popularity in the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and amongst tin miners in Cornwall. There are other non-conformist minorities, such as Baptists, Quakers, Congregationalists, Unitarians and the Salvation Army.[188]

The patron saint of England is Saint George, he is represented in the national flag, as well as the Union Flag as part of a combination. There are many other English and associated saints, some of the best known include; Cuthbert, Alban, Wilfrid, Aidan, Edward the Confessor, John Fisher, Thomas More, Petroc, Piran, Margaret Clitherow and Thomas Becket.[190] There are non-Christian religions practiced. Jews have a history of a small minority on the island since 1070. They were expelled from England in 1290 following the Edict of Expulsion, only to be allowed back in 1656. Especially since the 1950s Eastern religions from the former British colonies have began to appear, due to foreign immigration; Islam is the most common of these accounting for around 3.1% in England. Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are next in number adding up to 2% combined, introduced from India and South East Asia.[182] Around 14.6% claim to have no religion. Prior to the rise of Christianity—Celtic, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Norse mythology was practised.

No comments:

Post a Comment