Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The term national church or independent church is a reference to a church organization in Christianity that exists within the boundaries of a sovereign nation. The head of state is often considered the ceremonial head of the national church while at the same time not endorsing itself as the state religion. The term of national church or independent church tends to apply towards Christian denominations that have directly split from the Roman Catholic Church.
The first modern instance of a national church was the establishment of the Church of England, which had separated from the authority of the pope and the Holy See. Keeping the traditions of the Roman Catholic Church, it replaced papal authority by investing his powers to the reigning monarch of England, and later in history the United Kingdom.
The term national church or independent church is most often used within, but not limited to, the Anglican Communion. While Roman Catholic in tradition, such churches are independent of the Supreme Pontiff. For example, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America considers itself the national church of the United States. The Church of Scotland, a reformed presbyterian denomination, considers itself the national church of Scotland. The Philippine Independent Church considers itself the national church of the Philippines.
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