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high church

high church. Within the Church of England, the high-church party stresses continuity with the pre-Reformation church and holds a ‘high’ concept of the authority of the church, bishops, and sacraments. Originating in the resistance of certain churchmen to the protestantizing determination of Elizabethan and early Stuart puritanism, the term was first coined in the later 17th cent. High churchmen flourished under the later Stuarts because of their insistence on the divine right of kings. Despite successful political campaigns into the early 18th cent., they were doomed to disappear along with the Jacobite cause. Their theological and ecclesiastical opinions survived, to be rediscovered by the Oxford movement of the 1830s. Separated from the politics of succession, 19th-cent. high churchmanship emphasized the spiritual nature of the Church of England and its role in society. High-church influence on the Church of England encouraged a recovery of its intellectual life, especially the study of patristic and medieval history, liturgy, and ecclesiology. By the end of the 19th cent. high churchmanship was the dominant orthodoxy, despite court battles over the ritualist movement, which represented one aspect of it. Its success also contributed to bitter divisions between the high church or catholic grouping and the low church or evangelicals.

Judith Champ

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High Church

High Church: see England, Church of.

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