High church

The term "high church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy, and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality and resistance to "modernisation". Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term originated in and has been principally associated with the Anglican/Episcopal tradition, where it describes Anglican churches using a number of ritual practices associated in the popular mind with Roman Catholicism. The opposite is low church. Contemporary media discussing Anglican churches tend to prefer evangelical to "low church", and Anglo-Catholic to "high church", though the terms do not exactly correspond. Other contemporary denominations that contain high church wings include some Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches.


Because of its history, the term "High Church" also refers to aspects of Anglicanism quite distinct from the Oxford Movement or Anglo-Catholicism. There remain parishes that are "High Church" and yet adhere closely to the quintessentially Anglican usages and liturgical practices of the Book of Common Prayer.

High Church Anglicanism tends to be closer than Low Church to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teachings and spirituality; its hallmarks are relatively elaborate music, altarpieces, clergy vestments and an emphasis on sacraments. It is intrinsically conservative. In contrast, the Evangelical wing of Anglicanism upholds recognizable Protestant thinking.

The High Church descriptor nonetheless includes many bishops, other clergy and adherents sympathetic to mainstream modern consensus across reformed Christianity that, according to official Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian teachings, are anathema (see the ordination of women and to varying degrees abortion).

The term "High Church" has also been applied to elements of Protestant churches within which individual congregations or ministers display a division in their liturgical practices, for example, "High Church Presbyterianism", "High Church Methodism" and within Lutheranism exists a historic "High Church" and "Low Church" distinction comparable with Anglicanism (see Neo-Lutheranism and Pietism).

Other Languages
brezhoneg: Iliz Uhel
español: Iglesia alta
français: Haute Église
한국어: 고교회파
italiano: High Church
日本語: 高教会派
українська: Висока церква
中文: 高教會派