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Anglican and Episcopal churches

Last modified: 2006-03-18 by martin karner
Keywords: anglican | episcopal | church of england | christian | protestant |
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Anglican Communion

The Anglican Communion is the peak body of various Anglican and Episcopal churches around the world. The Communion has a flag, which is ultramarine blue, with a golden compass ('compass rose') bearing at its centre, a white shield with red borders carrying a red St. George's cross surrounded by a Greek motto meaning 'The Truth Shall Make You Free', topped by a golden mitre. The 'compass rose' can be found in the official website of the Compass Rose Society..
Miles Li, 29 March 2001

A very large photo of the flag is available at here, giving a very clear view of the flag and compass rose device. A smaller version, with the identifying caption "The Archbishop of Canterbury hoists the Compass Rose Flag at the Diocesan Centre in The Gambia" is at this page. It should be noted that the text above says the shield in the center of the compass rose is white, with a red cross and red borders, but the above photo, from the official Anglican Communion website, clearly shows it as yellow, or gold, with a blue cross and border.
Ned Smith, 5 September 2004

Further members of the Anglican Communion:

Church of England

by Vincent Morley

Church of England churches fly the defaced St. George's cross. Cathedrals tend to fly a banner of arms of the diocese. The Archbishop of Canterbury (Protestant Metropolitan) and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster (Catholic Metropolitan) both have flags for their office which are almost identical apart from the background colour.
Graham Bartram
, 18 January 2002

Can a church fly any flag it wishes at any time?
[Answer:] The Earl Marshall's warrant of 9 February 1938 reads:
'Whereas the Most Reverend Cosmo Gordon, Archbishop of Canterbury, ...hath represented unto me that uncertainty exists as to the flags proper to be flown upon Churches, in consequence whereof there is diversity of practice, and for the avoidance thereof has requested me to make such a general order as may be proper ...[I] hereby ordain and declare the Banner or Flag proper to be flown upon any Church within the Provinces of Canterbury and York to be the Cross of St. George and in the first quarter an escutcheon of the Arms of the See in which such Church is ecclesiastically situated.'

Numerous churches also have special warrants to fly other flags. I have a letter from Westminster Abbey, dated 9 March 1939, asserting its right to fly the Royal Standard, a heraldic banner of its arms, and a crossed-keys flag. Certain churches have the right to fly the white ensign, including St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, and All Saints', Burnham Thorpe (which uses the 1707 version). But tradition also seems to be important. It would be a brave soul who tried to eradicate the plain St. George's flag from our towers.
André Coutanche, 4 November 2004

The website at shows locations of dioceses of the Church of England, and heraldry of the dioceses.
Ned Smith, 6 November 2004

See also:

  • Use of the flag in the Church of England
  • St. George
  • Banners of English saints

    Anglican Fathers of the Corpus Christi

    At the homepage of the Anglican Fathers of the Corpus Christi is an image of an Anglican/Episcopal style flag. It is a long white swallowtail with an offset red cross and blue canton. In the canton is a disk with some style of cross.

    This religious order is affiliated with the Christian Episcopal Church, a small separatist traditionalist denomination of North America adhering to the Anglican tradition but not in union with Canterbury or the Anglican Communion. The device in the canton of that flag image is not identical to the arms used by either the Christian Episcopal Church in the US or in Canada although all three are obviously similar, being based on St. George's Cross. I do not know if this flag exists solely as a computer graphic, or if the Fathers actually fly such a flag. Neither do I know if the US or Canadian churches fly any flags based on their respective arms.
    Ned Smith, 5 September 2004