The Archbishop of Canterbury is seen primarily as the Leader of the Anglican Communion which includes all 38 provinces in communion with the See of Canterbury, a total of about 70 million members throughout the world. Nevertheless, the Archbishop of Canterbury has other major roles as well.
The Archbishop is the:
Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury, a diocese situated in East Kent, England with 270 parishes and about 1,000 square miles.
Metropolitan for the Southern Province of the Church of England, having supervisory authority in relation to the bishops and clergy in the 30 dioceses in southern England. The supervisory authority in the 14 dioceses in northern England is that of the Archbishop of York.
Primate of All England, a title given in recognition of his lead ecclesiastical role in England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is seen as England's leading Christian and spiritual voice. The Church of England has approximately 13,000 parishes with full-time parochial and other clergy.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has a leading ecumenical role with respect to fostering Anglican relationships with other Christian churches in the United Kingdom and abroad. He also has a leading role with respect to Anglican relationships with other faiths.
The present Archbishop of Canterbury is the Most Reverend Rowan Douglas Williams. He was nominated as the 104 th Archbishop of Canterbury on 23 July 2002, elected on 8 November 2002 and the election was confirmed at a legal ceremony in St Paul's Cathedral on 2 December 2002. Archbishop Williams was enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral on 27 February 2003.
Archbishop Williams succeeded the Most Reverend George Leonard Carey who retired on 31 October 2002.
Visit the Archbishop of Canterbury's page at: www.archbishopofcanterbury.org