The Protestant Episcopal Church today, only in the United States has about 2.5 million members. But the followers of this branch of Protestantism also live in Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Taiwan, Ecuador, Columbia, a small community is in Eastern Europe and even in Russia.
Until the late nineteenth century almost a third of the American financial and political elite were parishioners of the Episcopal Church. Also, 11 of the 43 presidents of the United States were Episcopal Protestants. Presidents Madison, Monroe and Tyler — the parishioners of the Episcopal Church of St. John in Washington. They, along with Ford and HW Bush are the most deeply religious amongst all the rulers of America.
Today the Church is experiencing a period of division, she was expelled from the Anglican community for being too modernized views on same-sex marriage.
The Episcopal Church – the American branch of the English Protestant Church, arranged under the freedom of residents of the state version of British Protestantism. It was established in 1607 by settlers from Britain, Virginia, then spread into Georgia, the Carolinas, upstate new York.
The Establishment of the Church preceded the War of independence of the United States, when the majority of Anglican churches were destroyed, bishops – banished. But for believers the traditions and values of Protestantism remained true and unbreakable, they did not want to renounce their faith. So in the end the Anglican community was reorganized and began to call themselves so: the Episcopal Church of America. The first Bishop was elected Samuel Sibery he didn't get the handshake in London, only in the opposition of Scotland.
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Construction of the Church's seminaries, the integration of the Church in the social life of American society contributed to the development of the movement. In the 70-ies was published the American version of the "Book of public worship".
While the history of the Church the number of parishioners was not more than 3.5 % of all citizens of the States, the Episcopal Church USA has always been one of the most influential and close to the political elite of religious organizations. The Church developed along with the evolution of society. In the period 60-70-ies of XX century the Episcopal Church began to hold services for African Americans, decided on shaking hands with women. The peak of the liberalization of the Church was the admission to the wedding of same-sex marriage, and in 2003 for the first time in the history of world religions an open homosexual became a Bishop: gene Robinson became head of the diocese of new Hampshire.
Since the beginning of the end of the twentieth century the conservative congregation and the Anglican Protestants wasn't too keen on permissive course of the Church, but a new ambitious round of debate took place in 2003. Today the Episcopal Church is split, and the number of members is at a historic low.
The government of the Church has a very democratic color. Even the leadership of the episcopate is in a very American-style. General Convention – a unique leadership administrative unit.
It is divided into two chambers: the House of bishops and House of deputies. The first one consists only of the bishops from each diocese (district). The chamber of deputies more than the number of representatives it is composed of four priests and four laymen from each district. A kind of miniature model of governance the whole country. To achieve the adoption of some important innovations, you need the consent of both chambers.
The Protestant Episcopal Church has always been a kind of elitist religious organization, even today in the part of its followers included the most educated and influential members of society.
Diocese the Convention meet annually, and the General Convention – once in three years.
Some of the commandments of the Protestant Episcopal coincide with the Catholic and Orthodox truths. In fact, the Protestant movement in England, Germany emerged as a kind of Catholicism, but without intoxicated by the power of the papacy (as it was in the Middle ages). At the dawn of its activities, the episcopate differed from Anglicanism, but he is far left liberalism.
The Commandments of the creed of the Episcopal Church is described in "the Book of public prayers,” which however corresponded a few times already. Except for a few derogations, in the Episcopal book a lot of solidarity with the Church of England tenets.
They believe in a Single Lord and a single mediator between God and men-Jesus Christ. Also man is saved by faith alone and good works. In fact, the religious platform of Catholicism and of the episcopate is one, but there are significant differences in ranks (especially communion, baptism, wedding) and the articles of faith. For example, in the Orthodox and Catholic rite for the Sacrament of Holy communion is only allowed for those who fasted, confessed, and the episcopate to communion is open to all laity. In other aspects of American Protestants differ unprecedented religious democracy and religious tolerance.
The Most impressive concentration of Episcopal believers is observed in the States of new York, Virginia, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington.
Logistic in the U.S. Episcopal Church has 76 diotseziv. In large cities there are spiritual, theological Seminary, published magazines.
The Main Church of the United States – pompous national Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Washington, the sixth largest Cathedral in the world, is on the balance of the Episcopal Church. It is located at the intersection of Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenue.
Another Church-the Episcopal Church of Saint John (WA), which is also called ‘Council of presidents”, is located a few hundred meters from the White House. The current President, Donald trump attended a solemn service in the Church on inauguration day.
In new York, the notorious temple at the intersection of Broadway and wall Street-Trinity Church Trinity Church is also Episcopal. It is a recognizable temple in neo-Gothic style.
The Main symbol of the faith of the episcopate is considered a big red cross, or the cross of St. George. In the upper left corner of the Grand cross, there are nine small crosses. When in 1789 the Episcopal Church was founded in the States, she had nine diotseziv in the States, hence the 9 crosses.
With the growth of this religious system, its excessive liberalization began to bother some influential parishioners and the bishops. A few steps to return to the sacraments of the ancient churches did the Bishop Freeman young. The second census "the Book of public prayers,” were made on his initiative under the distinct influence of the Orthodox canons of the Liturgy. He wanted to introduce a necessity of the post, but quickly died, and after his death the initiative of the post is not supported, and the Church continued to develop in a liberal manner.
On the equality of all members of the human race to gender, race, sexual the basis of Episcopal religious system perhaps the most progressive and liberal in the world. The Protestant Episcopal movement was always dependent on its influential members, which, besides the presidents, there were stars, politicians, businessmen. The Church had the largest number of donations in proportion to the number of parishioners. In all the centuries it was the richest religious community, to a greater extent democratic due to her leftist views.
In the Episcopal faith allowed women in the priesthood, they occupy the top positions in dioceses. Although Church and proclaims gender equality, and insists that advancement in the Church hierarchy depends on the personal qualities and intelligence of the believer, but in the entire history of the Church, only 17 women have received the top positions in dioceses. However, in most other religions women are not that priests are not, and their rights are maximally compressed, they are not allowed to visit a temple during menstruation (ritual impurity), they can visit the temple only with covered head, etc.
If the position of the Church for gender equality in the Liturgy was taken quietly, or even favorably, the approval of the episcopate of gay marriage caused a lot of gossip and gave rise to a new round of disputes in an already divided Church.
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