Foi uma ideia amplamente discutida a partir do século XIX, durante o surgimento do nacionalismo moderno. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, escrevendo sobre a separação Igreja-Estado, apontou que a ideia de uma instituição religiosa nacional precedia o cristianismo. John Wordsworth, bispo de Salisbury de 1885 a 1911, apontou a Igreja Anglicana e a Igreja da Suécia como igrejas nacionais de seus respectivos povos.
O conceito de igreja nacional é especialmente impregnado hoje no protestantismo inglês e escandinavo. Enquanto em um contexto inglês este termo ainda é inseparável da Igreja Anglicana, algumas das "igrejas populares" luteranas da Escandinávia vieram a emergir na segunda metade do século XIX, seguindo a deixa nacionalista do pastor dinamarquês N. F. S. Grundtvig.
A tendência nacionalizante das igrejas, no entanto, não esteve imune a críticas dentro da Cristandade. No Concílio Pan-Ortodoxo de 1872, foi denunciada como herética a doutrina do filetismo como heresia eclesiológica, deliberando-se que a Igreja Ortodoxa não deveria buscar organizar-se de acordo com as necessidades particulares de grupos étnicos Entre os protestantes, Karl Barth denunciou no século XX como herética a nacionalização da religião cristã, especialmente no contexto das igrejas nacionais declarando guerra umas contra as outras durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge. On the Constitution of the Church and State. Classic Books Company; 2001. ISBN 978-0-7426-8368-6. p. 59.
- Dag Thorkildsen, 'Scandinavia: Lutheranism and national identity', in World Christianities, c. 1815-1914, vol. 8 of The Cambridge history of Christianity, eds. Sheridan Gilley, Brian Stanley, Cambridge University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-521-81456-0, pp. 342–358.
- Orthodox Christian Laity: The 1872 Council of Constantinople and Phyletism
- Barth, Ethnics, ed. Braun, transl. Bromiley, New York, 1981, p. 305.
- Gelder, Craig Van (2008). The Missional Church and Denominations. [S.l.]: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 71. ISBN 9780802863584.
Germany's two churches (the National Church for the Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church) were “proper”with respect to their polities.
- Ágoston, Gábor; Masters, Bruce Alan (1 de janeiro de 2009). Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire. [S.l.]: Infobase Publishing. p. 53. ISBN 9781438110257.
The Armenian Apostolic Church, sometimes referred to as the Gregorian Armenian Church by Western scholars, serves as the national church of the Armenian people.
- Hall, Richard C. (1 de janeiro de 2012). The Modern Balkans: A History. [S.l.]: Reaktion Books. p. 51. ISBN 9781780230061.
While this did not restore the Ohrid patriarchate, it did acknowledge the separation between the Orthodox church in Constantinople and the Bulgarian Orthodox church, which was now free to develop as the Bulgarian national church.
- Venbrux, Eric; Quartier, Thomas; Venhorst, Claudia; Brenda Mathijssen (setembro de 2013). Changing European Death Ways. [S.l.]: LIT Verlag Münster. p. 178. ISBN 9783643900678.
Simultaneously the church tax, ministers being public servants, and the status of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark as the national church indicate that the state lends its support to the church.
- Makari, Peter E. (2007). Conflict & Cooperation: Christian-Muslim Relations in Contemporary Egypt. [S.l.]: Syracuse University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9780815631446.
The Coptic Orthodox Church is the historic, and national, church of Egypt and is deeply tied to a monastic tradition of spiritual growth and preparation for ministry of monks and nuns, a tradition that continues to thrive.
- Morton, Andrew R. (1994). God's Will in a Time of Crisis: A Colloquium Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Baillie Commission. Edinburgh: CTPI. p. 14. ISBN 9781870126274.
In October 1929, the Established Church and the United Free Church were united to form the national Church of Scotland.
- Elvy, Peter (1991). Opportunities and Limitations in Religious Broadcasting. Edinburgh: CTPI. p. 23. ISBN 9781870126151.
Denominationally Estonia is Lutheran. During the time of national independence (1918-1940), 80% of the population belonged to the Lutheran National Church, about 17% were Orthodox Christians and the rest belonged to Free Churches.
- Lorance, Cody (2008). Ethnographic Chicago. [S.l.: s.n.] p. 140. ISBN 9780615218625.
Her findings show that the development of the national church of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which began in the fourth century and made Christianity the state religion of Ethiopia, was also a major contributor to national development in the fields of independence, social progress, national unity and empowerment, literary development, arts, architecture, music, publication, and declaration of a national language and leadership, both spiritually and military.
- Denmark, Finland, and Sweden. [S.l.]: Britanncia Educational Publishing. 1 de junho de 2013. p. 77. ISBN 9781615309955.
One of Finland's national churches is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Evankelis—luterilainen—kirkko), or simply the Church of Finland.
- Kaplan, Robert B.; Baldauf, Richard B. (2005). Language Planning and Policy in Europe. [S.l.]: Multilingual Matters. p. 147. ISBN 9781853598111.
Currently, a clear majority of the population belongs to the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, and 1% of the population are members of the other national church, the Finnish Orthodox Church (see Table 7).
- Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (21 de setembro de 2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. [S.l.]: ABC-CLIO. p. 1195. ISBN 9781598842043.
The Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) is the Eastern Orthodox Christian body that serves as the national church of the Caucasian country of Georgia. The great majority of Georgians are members of the church.
- Miller, James Edward (2009). The United States and the Making of Modern Greece: History and Power, 1950-1974. [S.l.]: Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 12. ISBN 9780807832479.
The creation of a national church of Greece, which the patriarch reluctantly recognized in 1850, set a pattern for other emerging Balkan states to form national churches independent of Constantinople.
- Proctor, James (13 de maio de 2013). Faroe Islands. [S.l.]: Bradt Travel Guides. p. 19. ISBN 9781841624563.
Religion is important to the Faroese and 84% of the population belongs to the established national church in the islands, the Evangelical—Lutheran Foroya Kirkja, which has 61 churches in the Faroes and three out of every four marriages are held in one.
- Britannicus (1834). The Church of England. [S.l.: s.n.] p. 17.
Having, in my last, arrive at the great points which I wished to establish--the apostolicity, independence, and authority of the Church of England; and that she is necessarily the National Church, because Christianity is the National Religion.
- Wilcox, Jonathan; Latif, Zawiah Abdul (1 de setembro de 2006). Iceland. [S.l.]: Marshall Cavendish. p. 85. ISBN 9780761420743.
The National Church of Iceland, formally called the Evangelical-Lutheran Church, is the state religion, and the president of Iceland is its supreme authority.
- Ajami, Fouad (30 de maio de 2012). The Syrian Rebellion. [S.l.]: Hoover Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780817915063.
The Maronite Church is a national church. Its creed is attachment to Lebanon and its independence. The founding ethos of the Maronites is their migration from the Syrian plains to the freedom and “purity” of their home in Mount Lebanon.
- Rae, Heather (15 de agosto de 2002). State Identities and the Homogenisation of Peoples. [S.l.]: Cambridge University Press. p. 278. ISBN 9780521797085.
The creation of a national Church was also central to building national identity, with the Macedonian Orthodox Church (MOC) established in 1967, much to the outrage of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
- Cristofori, Rinaldo; Ferrari, Silvio (28 de fevereiro de 2013). Law and Religion in the 21st Century: Relations between States and Religious Communities. [S.l.]: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 194. ISBN 9781409497332.
The State shall support all religious communities including the Church of Norway on an equal footing, but the Church of Norway shall 'remain the people's Church and is as such supported by the State', thereby upholding its function as a national Church.
- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine. [S.l.]: William Blackwood & Sons. 1895. p. 142.
The Church in Wales [is] ... the National Church in every sense of the word, not only theoretically but practically.
- Prizel, Ilya (13 de agosto de 1998). National Identity and Foreign Policy: Nationalism and Leadership in Poland, Russia and Ukraine. [S.l.]: Cambridge University Press. p. 155. ISBN 9780521576970.
Although nominally a national church, the Russian Orthodox Church developed from a defensive, nativist institution to the ideological foundation of an imperial idea.
- Tomasevich, Jozo (1 de janeiro de 1975). The Chetniks. [S.l.]: Stanford University Press. p. 176. ISBN 9780804708579.
He also had the support of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which as a national church long identified with the national destiny and aspirations of the Serbian people was naturally inclined to identify itself with the movement that had the backing of the king and the Servian-dominated government-in-exile.
- Gilley, Sheridan; Stanley, Brian (2006). The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 8, World Christianities C.1815-c.1914. [S.l.]: Cambridge University Press. p. 354. ISBN 9780521814560.
The Church of Sweden could be characterised as 'national church' or 'folk church', but not as 'state church', because the independence of the church was expressed by the establishment of a Church Assembly in 1863.
- West, Barbara A. (1 de janeiro de 2009). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. [S.l.]: Infobase Publishing. p. 845. ISBN 9781438119137.
A second important cultural feature of the Tuvaluan nation is the centrality of the national church, the Ekalesia o Tuvalu, or Church of Tuvalu, in which up to 97 percent of the population claims membership.
- Velychenko, Stephen (1 de janeiro de 1992). National History as Cultural Process: A Survey of the Interpretations of Ukraine's Past in Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian Historical Writing from the Earliest Times to 1914. [S.l.]: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press. 199 páginas. ISBN 9780920862759.
For this reason the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was the true democratic national church of the Ukrainian nation.
- History of Religion in Ukraine Arquivado em 12 de outubro de 2016, no Wayback Machine.; Seção 8, Capítulo 2