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Is the form of church polity in which the chief authority is exercised by bishops, as opposed to presbyterianism, in which it is exercised by ministers and elders, and congregationalism, in which it is exercised by gathered fellowships of believers. The system, normal among Christians by ad 200, became dominant in Christian Europe. Since the Reformation the term has usually been applied to episcopal churches not in communion with the Roman catholic church, and is particularly applied to the Anglican Communion.

Subjects: British History.

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