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A church supported by the government as a national institution. The Church of England is an established church in England, as is the Lutheran Church in the countries of Scandinavia and the Presbyterian Church in Scotland.
A religious denomination that receives financial and other support from the government, often to the exclusion of support for other denominations. (See under “World Literature, Philosophy, and Religion.”)
a church recognized by law as the official church of a state or nation and supported by civil authority. Though not strictly created by a legal contract, the legal establishment is more like a contractual entity than like anything else and, therefore, ordinarily cannot be varied or repudiated by only one party to it. The church is not free to make changes in such things as doctrine, order, or worship without the consent of the state. In accepting such obligations, the church usually, though not always, receives financial support and other special privileges.