Primates in the Anglican Communion

Primates in the Anglican Communion are the most senior bishop or archbishop of one of the 40 churches of the Anglican Communion.[1] The Church of England, however, has two primates, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York.


Some of these churches are stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of the Province of West Africa), while others are national churches comprising several ecclesiastical provinces (such as the Church of England). Since 1978, the Anglican primates have met annually for an Anglican Communion Primates' Meeting at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is regarded as the symbolic leader (though primus-inter-pares) of the Anglican primates. While the gathering has no legal jurisdiction, it acts as one of the informal instruments of unity among the autonomous provinces of the communion.

In stand-alone ecclesiastical provinces, the primate is the metropolitan archbishop of the province. In national churches composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, the primate will be senior to the metropolitan archbishops of the various provinces, and may also be a metropolitan archbishop. In those churches which do not have a tradition of archiepiscopacy, the primate is a bishop styled "primus" (in the case of the Scottish Episcopal Church), "presiding bishop", "president bishop", "prime bishop" or simply "primate". In the case of the Episcopal Church in the United States, which is composed of several ecclesiastical provinces, there is a presiding bishop who is its primate, but the individual provinces are not led by metropolitans.

Anglican primates may be attached to a fixed see (e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury is invariably the Primate of All England), who may be chosen from among sitting metropolitans or diocesan bishops and retain the see (as with, for example, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia), or who may have no see (as in the Anglican Church of Canada). Primates are generally chosen by election (either by a synod consisting of laity, clergy and bishops, or by a House of Bishops). In some instances, the primacy is awarded on the basis of seniority among the episcopal college. In the Church of England, the primate, like all bishops, is appointed by the British sovereign, in the capacity of Supreme Governor of the established church, on the advice of the Crown Appointments Commission.

The United Churches of South India, of North India, of Pakistan and of Bangladesh have neither metropolitan (arch)bishops nor national primates. Instead, each has a Moderator of the Synod (and a Vice-Moderator), elected from among the bishops for a fixed term, who is ranked among the Anglican primates.[2]

Dual primates[edit]

In the Church of England and the Church of Ireland, the metropolitan of the second province has since medieval times also been accorded the title of primate. In England, the Archbishop of Canterbury is known as the "Primate of All England" [3] while the Archbishop of York as "Primate of England"[4] (see also Primacy of Canterbury). In Ireland both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Armagh are titled "Primate of All Ireland";[5][6] while both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin are titled "Primate of Ireland".[6] As both of these positions pre-date the 1921 partition, they relate to the whole of Ireland. The junior primates of these churches do not normally participate in the Primates' Meeting.

List of current primates[edit]

Active primate Male primate
Inactive primate Female primate
Position vacant or acting primate

This is a list of the 41 current primates (including four moderators of united churches) in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The list is given according to the Anglican order of precedence, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as primus inter pares first and the others in order of seniority by their installation to their primacy.

# Province Primate Person Date of birth & age Consecration[i] Took office[ii]
1 Church of England The Archbishop of Canterbury
 & Primate of All England
Justin Welby (1956-01-06) 6 January 1956 (age 64) 28 October 2011 4 February 2013
2 Anglican Church of South America The Presiding Bishop of South America
 & Bishop of Argentina
Gregory Venables (1949-12-06) 6 December 1949 (age 70) November 1993 2001–2010
10 November 2016 – present
3 Anglican Church in Japan The Primate of Japan
 & Bishop of Hokkaido
Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu 1952 (age 67–68) 1997 23 May 2006
4 Hong Kong Anglican Church (Episcopal) The Archbishop of Hong Kong
 & Bishop of Hong Kong Island
Paul Kwong 1950 (age 69–70) 25 March 2006 26 September 2007
5 Anglican Church of Southern Africa The Archbishop of Cape Town
 & Primate of Southern Africa
Thabo Makgoba (1960-12-15) 15 December 1960 (age 59) 25 May 2002 31 December 2007
6 Church of the Province of Myanmar (Burma) The Archbishop of Myanmar
 & Bishop of Yangon
Stephen Than Myint Oo 1958 (age 61–62) 2005 17 February 2008
7 Church of Nigeria The Archbishop of Abuja
 & Primate of All Nigeria
Nicholas Okoh (1952-11-10) 10 November 1952 (age 67) March 2001 25 March 2010
8 Anglican Church of Chile The Primate of Chile,
 Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Chile & Bishop of Santiago
Tito Zavala (1954-10-16) 16 October 1954 (age 65) 1998 2010–2016 (South America)
4 November 2018 – present (Chile)
9 Church of the Province of Central Africa The Archbishop of Central Africa
 & Bishop of Northern Zambia
Albert Chama unknown 2003 20 March 2011
10 Church of Ireland The Archbishop of Armagh
 & Primate of All Ireland
Richard Clarke (1949-06-25) 25 June 1949 (age 70) 14 September 1996 15 December 2012
11 Church of Uganda The Archbishop of Uganda
 & Bishop of Kampala
Stanley Ntagali (1955-03-01) 1 March 1955 (age 64) 19 December 2004 16 December 2012
12 [iii] Anglican Church in Aotearoa,
New Zealand and Polynesia
The Senior Bishop of the New Zealand Dioceses,
 Primate of New Zealand
 & Bishop of Taranaki
Philip Richardson 1958 (age 61–62) 1999 1 May 2013
13 Anglican Church of Mexico The Archbishop of Mexico
 & Bishop of Northern Mexico
Francisco Moreno (1950-08-13) 13 August 1950 (age 69) 5 March 2010 16 June 2013
14 Anglican Church of Australia The Primate of Australia
 & Archbishop of Melbourne
Philip Freier (1954-02-09) 9 February 1954 (age 65) 1999 13 August 2014
15 The Episcopal Church in the USA The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Michael Curry (1953-03-13) 13 March 1953 (age 66) 17 June 2000 1 November 2015
16 Church of the Province of South East Asia The Archbishop of South East Asia
 & Bishop of West Malaysia
Ng Moon Hing (1955-11-12) 12 November 1955 (age 64) 5 May 2007 22 February 2016
17 Church of the Province of Melanesia The Archbishop of Melanesia
 & Bishop of Central Melanesia
George Takeli 1959 (age 60–61) August 2009 17 April 2016
18 Anglican Church of Kenya The Primate and Archbishop of All Kenya
 & Bishop of All Saints' Cathedral
Jackson Ole Sapit (1964-06-12) 12 June 1964 (age 55) 2005 3 July 2016
19 Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi The Archbishop of Burundi
 & Bishop of Makamba
Martin Nyaboho 1955 (age 64–65) 1997 21 August 2016
20 Province of the Anglican Church of the Congo The Archbishop of the Congo
 & Bishop of Kindu
Masimango Katanda unknown 1996 11 September 2016
20a[iv] Church of South India The Moderator of the Church of South India
 & Bishop of Madhya Kerala
Thomas K. Oommen (1953-11-29) 29 November 1953 (age 66) 5 March 2011 15 January 2017
21 Episcopal Church in the Philippines The Prime Bishop of the Philippines Joel Pachao (1956-07-29) 29 July 1956 (age 63) 25 May 1992 16 May 2017
21a[iv] Church of Pakistan The Moderator of the Church of Pakistan
 & Bishop in Peshawar
Humphrey Peters unknown 2011 20 May 2017
22 Scottish Episcopal Church The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
 & Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness
Mark Strange (1961-11-02) 2 November 1961 (age 58) 23 October 2007 27 June 2017
23 Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan The Archbishop of Khartoum
 & Primate of Sudan
Ezekiel Kondo 1957 (age 62–63) 2003 30 July 2017
24 Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean The Archbishop of the Indian Ocean
 & Bishop of Seychelles
James Wong 1960 (age 59–60) 19 April 2009 27 August 2017
25 Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea The Archbishop of Papua New Guinea Allan Migi 1960 (age 59–60) 2000 3 September 2017
25a[iv] Church of North India The Moderator of the Church of North India
 & Bishop in Jabalpur
Prem Chand Singh (1962-12-12) 12 December 1962 (age 57) 2004 October 2017
26 Church in Wales The Archbishop of Wales
 & Bishop of Swansea and Brecon
John Davies (1953-02-06) 6 February 1953 (age 66) 2 May 2008 2 December 2017
26a[iii] Anglican Church in Aotearoa,
New Zealand and Polynesia
Te Pīhopa o Aotearoa,
 Primate of New Zealand
 & Te Pīhopa o Te Tairāwhiti
Donald Tamihere 1972 (age 47–48) 11 March 2017 8 April 2018
27 Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan The Archbishop of Juba
 & Primate of South Sudan
Justin Badi Arama 1964 (age 55–56) 2001 22 April 2018
28 Anglican Church of Tanzania The Archbishop of Tanzania
 & Bishop of Tanga
Maimbo Mndolwa 1968 (age 51–52) 4 September 2012 20 May 2018
29 Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil The Primate of Brazil
 & Bishop of Curitiba
Naudal Alves Gomes 2000 3 June 2018
30 Church of the Province of Rwanda The Archbishop of Rwanda
 & Bishop of Shyira
Laurent Mbanda 1954 (age 65–66) May 2010 10 June 2018
31 Anglican Church of Korea The Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of Korea
 & Bishop of Daejeon
Moses Nag Jun Yoo unknown 10 August 2018
32 Anglican Church in Central America The Primate of Central America
 & Bishop of Panama
Julio Murray 1958 (age 61–62) 19 August 2000[7] August 2018[8]
32a[iv] Church of Bangladesh The Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh
 & Bishop in Kustia
Samuel Mankhin unknown 8 November 2009 5 December 2018
33 Church of the Province of West Africa The Primate of West Africa,
 Metropolitan Archbishop of West Africa & Bishop of Liberia
Jonathan Hart (1953-01-09) 9 January 1953 (age 67) 2 March 2008 3 March 2019
33a[iii] Anglican Church in Aotearoa,
New Zealand and Polynesia
The Bishop of Polynesia
 & Primate of New Zealand
Fereimi Cama (1955-03-02) 2 March 1955 (age 64)[9] 10 March 2019 10 March 2019
34 Church in the Province of the West Indies The Archbishop of the West Indies
 & Bishop of Jamaica
Howard Gregory 17 May 2017 28 May 2019
35 Anglican Church of Canada The Primate of Canada Linda Nicholls 2 February 2008 16 July 2019
36 Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East The President Bishop and Primate of the Church in Jerusalem
 & Bishop in Cyprus and the Gulf
Michael Lewis 1953 (age 66–67) 1999 17 November 2019

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The date the person was consecrated as an Anglican (or United Church) bishop.
  2. ^ The date the person became primate (usually by the confirmation of their election or by their installation, enthronement or investiture in office).
  3. ^ a b c Three bishops representing each of the three tikanga share the Primacy and the style of Archbishop.
  4. ^ a b c d The moderators of the Churches of Bangladesh, of North India, of Pakistan and of South India are not, strictly speaking, primates, but they nonetheless rank with and participate alongside the Communion's primates.


  1. ^ Anglican Communion – Primates' Meetings (Accessed 6 July 2013)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Canterbury" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Ancient See of York" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Armagh" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. ^ a b James Murray, Enforcing the English Reformation in Ireland (Cambridge University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-52136994-7, pp. 41-43; MacGeoghegan, James, The History of Ireland, Ancient and Modern (1844), James Duffy, Dublin, p. 337
  7. ^ [1] (Accessed 24 April 2018)
  8. ^ [2] (Accessed 24 April 2018)
  9. ^ [3]

External links[edit]