Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising the Church of England and churches which are historically tied to it or have similar beliefs, worship practices and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English Church. Adherents of Anglicanism are called Anglicans. The great majority of Anglicans are members of churches which are part of the international Anglican Communion. There are, however, a number of churches outside of the Anglican Communion which also consider themselves to be Anglican, most notably those referred to as Continuing Anglican churches.
The faith of Anglicans is founded in the scriptures, the traditions of the apostolic church, the apostolic succession ("historic episcopate") and the early Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity; having definitively declared its independence from the Roman pontiff at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, in what has been otherwise termed the British monachism. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Reformed Protestantism and these reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. By the end of the century, the retention in Anglicanism of many traditional liturgical forms and of the episcopate was already seen as unacceptable by those promoting the most developed Protestant principles.