The Review – some history

The Glastonbury Review was founded in 1944 by the late Metropolitan Georgius of Glastonbury (1905-1979). Its original name was The Orthodox Catholic Reviewwhich was a deliberate attempt to associate with the spiritual heritage of two earlier periodicals of the same name. Between 1867-1885 Dr. J.J. Overbeck had published from London ten volumes to serve as the vehicle for promoting his scheme for a Western rite in Orthodoxy. The title was revived by Bishop Aftimios Ofiesh (1880-1966), a Syrian Orthodox priest consecrated as a vicar bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. In 1927 he was commissioned by the Russian diocese to form an English-language American Orthodox Catholic Church, but this never came to fruition and the only issues of his Review date from that year.

The first issue of Metropolitan Georgius’ Orthodox Catholic Review was published in April 1944 and reported on his episcopal consecration. It was divided into ten volumes and its last issue was Autumn 1968, although Volume VII was never actually published. The  numbering was continued as it was hoped at the time to produce retrospective issues for the record. It comprised 508 quarto (11 x 9 ins) pages and was cyclostyled, other than June 1946-December 1951 when it was commercially printed. Metropolitan Georgius was the editor 1944-1967 until he passed the responsibility to Protodeacon Seraphim Newman-Norton (now Abba Seraphim).

Production problems meant that no issue appeared in 1968-69 and to fill the gap Metropolitan Georgius published The Glastonbury Bulletin on 12 March 1970, although it was envisaged that it would continue alongside the Review once publication resumed. The first Bulletin was a double-sided cyclostyled sheet, although they soon began to grow. It was, however, still seen as a very temporary publication, so  that issue No. 6 actually appeared under the banner of The Glastonbury Newsletter as Metropolitan Georgius had forgotten its title ! However, it also perpetuated many features of the old Review including the popular “Here, There and Everywhere: News of the Church from divers quarters” which had first appeared in June 1966. Father Seraphim became editor with issue No. 7 dated 25 August 1971 and continued until October 1973 (issue No. 29) when he officially stepped down although issues 30-33 (November 1973-May 1974) were still produced by him. In July 1974 (No. 34) Edwin Astill (now Archdeacon Alexander) became editor and with issue No. 35 (November 1974) the format changed to foolscap size (13.4 x 17 ins). He remained editor until No. 45 (February 1977) and No. 46 (August 1977) saw the newly consecrated Abba Seraphim succeed him.  An illustrated cover had first appeared in No. 30 (November 1973) but remained only an occasional feature until No. 53 (May 1979) when Metropolitan Georgius died, since when all issues have been published with a cover. The distinctive bright yellow cover was introduced with No. 73 (September 1987) although No. 74 (December 1987) reverted to white as stocks of coloured paper had run out and issue 84 (June 1993) appeared in mourning violet to mark the death of Bishop Ignatius Peter.  This issue was also the first commercially printed copy, when the format changed to booklet size (8.5x 6 ins). Issues 84-116 (June 2008) were printed by Essex University Press, although No. 116 was simultaneously printed by Lulu.

By the time of the hundredth issue (June 1999) it was felt that it was rather more substantial than a bulletin and the name was changed to The Glastonbury Reviewas more representative and to emphasise continuity with its predecessor. At that time the number of pages had reached 2,380.