The British Orthodox Church
Metropolis of Glastonbury

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As Far as the East is from the West

Early in the twentieth century an Englishman, Ulric Vernon Herford (1866-1938) living in Oxford, received episcopal consecration from an Indian bishop of the Syro-Chaldean succession. Although the ministry of ‘Mar Jacobus’, the religious name by which he was known, was relatively small, his impact on the local religious scene was significant. This study, subtitled “Sidelights on Assyrian Church History” attempts to explain the historical context in which these events took place as well as the dynamics of the ancient Assyrian Church of the East, from which Mar Jacobus derived his mission. On the death of his consecrator, he inherited the oversight of the communities in southern India, which others who came after him claimed to inherit.

Ex Oriente Lux

This chapter in the history of nineteenth century Christendom has been sadly neglected by writers and Church historians. During the middle of the 19th century Stephen Hatherly, an English church musician and Dr. Joseph Overbeck, a Prussian Catholic scholar priest who had settled in England, both converted to Orthodoxy. Tragically, an early clash of personalities caused them to be life-long enemies. Hatherly believed the Byzantine Liturgy the very essence of Orthodoxy and told the Greek community in Manchester, “I glory in nothing more than that I stand before you as a Greek priest.” Dr. Overbeck’s scheme for a Western-rite Orthodoxy was repugnant to Hatherly and he wrote to his rival that he would not stand by and see him “blend any figment of your old popery or any old Protestantism with our Orthodox ritual.”

The Ecclesiastical Underworld

‘The Ecclesiastical Underworld’ is the first systematic attempt to chart the origins and progress of the smaller episcopal churches which appeared in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It was originally serialised in a north London newspaper, ‘The Bowes Park Weekly News’ in 1935, with a print run of just a few thousand. It is the progenitor of many later studies and therefore predates Brandreth’s ‘Episcopi Vagantes and the Anglican Church’ (1947 & 1961) and Peter Anson’s ‘Bishops at Large’ (1964) by many years. Its author, Hugh George de Willmott Newman (1905-1979) was well known in and around Southgate, where he had been an active worker both in national and municipal politics and a regular lecturer & writer in the local press. He was himself ordained to the priesthood by one of Archbishop Mathew’s bishops and in 1944 consecrated to the episcopate as Mar Georgius, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Glastonbury.

Root and Branch

The first chapter examines the early church’s concept of the “local church”, whilst the second examines the historical development of Orthodoxy & the British Isles. Citing numerous authorities, subsequent chapters review issues of Succession & Continuity; the Syriac missions of Bishops Julius Ferrette and Timotheos Vilatte as well as the outreach of other Eastern and Orthodox churches.  Abba Seraphim also recounts the Struggle for Orthodox Mission, citing the ministries of Father Stephen Hatherly, Louis Winnaert, Bishop Jean Kovalevsky, Reuban Spartas, Archbishop Aftimeos Ofiesh, Alexander Tyler Turner and the Evangelical Orthodox Church. His final chapter recounts details of the BOC’s union with the Alexandrian Patriarchate.

Copies of this book can be obtained online from LULU by clicking this link.

The Glastonbury Confession

The Glastonbury Confession is the dogmatic constitution of The British Orthodox Church, an autocephalous church of the Oriental Orthodox tradition.

Flesh of Our Brethren

In the 19th century the Syrian Orthodox Church provided bishops for discontented Anglo-Catholics in Britain, Portuguese Catholics in Ceylon and Old Catholics in America. In 1933 it responded to a crisis among the Byzantine Orthodox in Hungary by consecrating a bishop for these congregations too. Although now a Metropolitan of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Abba Seraphim believes that there are certain parallels which may be construed to aid a more generous evaluation of these bishops and his detailed documentation, the fruit of 40 years research, provides the basis for such a re-assessment.