Roles of the Archbishop

Six main roles nowadays fall to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In a situation where the last two stem from the first four, these roles are as follows:

Diocesan Bishop of Canterbury

Since 597, the Archbishop’s See has been at Canterbury. The current Archbishop is the 104th. His diocese in East Kent has a population of 825,000 people and comprises 270 parishes in an area of nearly 1,000 square miles.

Metropolitan for the Southern Province of the Church of England

The Archbishop of Canterbury has what is known as metropolitical authority (that is, a supervisory authority for defined purposes) in relation to all bishops and clergy in the 30 dioceses in southern England. The Archbishop of York has the same authority in relation to the 14 dioceses in northern England.

Primate of All England

The Archbishop has this title in recognition of his lead ecclesiastical role in England. The Church of England has 13,000 parishes and 13,000 full-time parochial and other clergy. He is regarded as the nation’s senior Christian and spiritual voice.

Leader of the Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion includes all 38 provinces in communion with the See of Canterbury, a total of about 70 million members throughout the world.

Ecumenical role

The Archbishop of Canterbury takes the lead in respect of Anglican relationships with other Christian churches in the United Kingdom and abroad.

Inter faith role

Similarly, the Archbishop of Canterbury leads in respect of Anglican relationships with other faiths.