New book published on Orthodox History in Britain

We are pleased to announce that the British Orthodox Press has just published a new book on the history of Orthodoxy in Britain. “Ex Oriente Lux. The Story of Dr. Joseph J. Overbeck (1820-1905) and Father Stephen Hatherly (1827-1905), two converts to Orthodoxy with different conceptions of founding an indigenous Orthodox Church”.

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 author, Abba Seraphim, Metropolitan of Glastonbury, is a noted authority on British Orthodox history and has based this book on a series of articles which he first wrote for The Glastonbury Bulletin between 1978-1980, but greatly amplified by hitherto unpublished material he has since researched; notably detailed analysis of contemporary manuscript correspondence, as well as his friendship with members of the Hatherly family. The book also includes the first published photograph of Father Stephen Hatherly, with one of Dr. Overbeck in mid-life, as well as a beautiful miniature of him in his later years, the copyright of which belongs to the National Trust, who authorised its reproduction.

Although there have been numerous references to them in wider studies on Orthodox history, other than Wilhelm Kahle’s 1968 academic study (in German) on Dr. Overbeck’s scheme, this is the first full book in English specifically written on these Orthodox pioneers.

Copies of “Ex Oriente Lux” (hardbound, 231 pp + illustrations)  can be obtained online from, price £20.