How does the Episcopal (Church) Hierarchy work?

I know the Roman Catholic church has Archbishops, Cardinals, then finally the Pope. What is the Episcopal Churches equivalent?

4 Answers

  • 5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The Episcopal Churches have the Anglican Communion a great confederation of churches under the nominal spiritual direction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, technically he is not even the head of the Church of England, the Queen Elizabeth II is. He is however the real head of the Anglican Communion. The Queen is a moral exemplar and a figure head of state as well as the head of the Church of England and has a very small part in choosing bishops from a list prepared by the government, the Church of England is a state established religion. The Church of England is apostolic and traces its hierarchy back to the apostles technically the first "bishops" in theory.

    American Episopcal Church Polity

    "The basic unit of governance in the Episcopal Church is the diocese. The ordained leader of the diocese is a bishop. Groups of dioceses constitute provinces, but unlike in other Anglican Churches, the provinces of the Episcopal Church do not have an archbishop with jurisdiction over the other bishops in his or her province. Other ordained leaders include priests (or presbyters) and deacons. Laity participate fully in the life and governance of the Church.

    The Church holds its General Convention every three years. The General Convention is bicameral. There is the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies, which is made up of priests, deacons, and laypersons. Each diocese elects four clergy and four laypeople as deputies. The head of the House of Bishops is the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The current presiding bishop is The Most Reverend Frank Tracy Griswold, whose term ends in 2006. The head of the House of Deputies is the president who is either a layperson or priest. The last General Convention was held in 2003. The next one will be held in 2006 in Columbus, Ohio.


    The Episcopal Church in the United States has nine ecclesiastical provinces, numbered as follows (divided by state, not diocese).

    New England

    New York, New Jersey, Haiti, United States Virgin Islands, and Convocation of American Churches in Europe

    Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

    Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, eastern Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

    Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, eastern Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin

    Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming

    Arkansas, Kansas, western Louisiana, western Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas,

    Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Taiwan, Washington

    Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Venezuela

    Each province is subdivided into dioceses. However, the senior bishop of a province is not an archbishop nor are there any archbishops in the Episcopal Church in the United States."- Wikepedia

    The Church of England has two archbishiops, the primate, who is the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the second runner up in the power grab, the Archbishop of York, who is a Britain of African descent I believe.

    Recently dioceses and some independent minded and often conservative Anglican churches have chosen to circumvent the local dioceses and affiliate with a more conversative foreign bishop from another Anglican sister church sometimes in Africa. Some churches have formed networks of conservative splinter groups withdrawing financial ties to dioceses and the Episcopal Church USA because of Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire, a gay man in an open committed relationship. Others left because of even earlier squabbles about women being ordained as priests and consecrated as bishops.

  • John S
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    All member churches of the Anglican Communion are independently governed. So, while the Archbishop of Canterbury is the titular head of the Anglican Communion, he has no governing authority within any member church other than the Church of England (which is limited to England--not even Scotland or Ireland). The same goes for the English monarch as Head of the Church--that applies only to the Church of England. Since there is no over-all international governing organization, there is no position equivalent to a cardinal or pontiff in the Anglican Communion.

    In the Episcopal church (as in other churches of the communion), bishops are elected at diocesan conventions where voting is divided among laity and clergy. A prospective bishop must be approved by both "houses." The bishop-elect must then also be approved by a majority of the diocesan "standing committees" (bodies consisting of lay and clergy representatives elected by dioceses with certain canonically defined roles of oversight) and a majority of the bishops of the Episcopal Church. Diocesan bishops have authority within their dioceses (there are 99 dioceses in the U.S., and 10 more in other countries and territories). The national head is the Presiding Bishop, who is elected at a national convention.

    Although there are Archbishops in the Anglican Communion, there are none in the U.S. (I suspect we are still being punished for the Revolution and our founding by Scottish bishops).

    Source(s): 40 years as an Episcopal choirmaster
  • 5 years ago

    The Archbishop of Canterbury is the head of Anglican church. They also have other Archbishops and Bishops, not sure if they have other in between ranks or not.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    it is a free for all.

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