Archbishop of Canterbury Most Rev Justin Welby has called the history of child sexual abuse in the Church of England shameful.
The Anglican Church will be scrutinised to establish whether a "culture of secrecy" existed, allowing perpetrators of sexual abuse to go unchallenged in their crimes.
The announcement was made by the public inquiry into child sexual abuse, during a preliminary hearing on Wednesday about the strand of the investigation which concerns the Anglican Church. Numerous individuals and institutions are included in the investigation.
Counsel to the inquiry, Fiona Scolding QC said: "Culture is important because it shapes everything about the way that things are done within the organisation and it is both deeply embedded within an organisation and often difficult to change."
The IICSA is being chaired by Professor Alexis Jay (pictured above).
The Anglican Church strand of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) is due to get underway in March next year. It will examine how leaders handled allegations of exploitation by clergy.
Fiona Scolding QC continued: "This will involve examining how far was there or is there a culture of secrecy within the church."
"How far the church's approach to sex and sexuality contributed or contributes to difficulties with cultural change. How far does the hierarchical nature of the church create a power imbalance which could inhibit the reporting of abuse."
Speaking during a meeting held at the new IICSA headquarters in central London, Fiona Scolding QC said the inquiry would cover current church practises and any planned future reforms, in addition to past events.
Disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball will also feature as a specific case study. More than 184,000 pages of evidence have been received by the inquiry. Some 22,000 have been deemed duplicates while 35,000 were found to be irrelevant.